Chief Represetative of GSK in Vietnam: "We are fostering efforts to support children's health"
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) jointly Save the Children recently announced winners of Healthcare Innovation Award with total award value up to 1 million USD. According to Mr. James Strenner, Chief Representative of Rep Office of GlaxoSmithKline Pte Ltd in HCM City, this award demonstrates GSK efforts in supporting children in developing countries, including Vietnam.
Good day, Mr. Strenner. Thank you for your time. Could you please share with our readers more about this Award?
The award is a major initiative of GSK and Save the Children’s five-year partnership, through which the two organizations are combining their resources, voice and expertise to help save one million children’s lives.
This annual US$1 million Healthcare Innovation Award helps identify and reward innovations that are helping to reduce child deaths in developing countries. Since then, we have recognized more than a dozen inventive approaches worldwide for 3 years.
What are the criteria for evaluation process and who are the winners?
Winners were chosen using a fair and thorough four stage evaluation process. At each stage the applications judged to be the strongest were taken through to the next round of evaluations and reassessed by an additional team, to ensure as much objectivity and expertise as possible in our decision making. At each stage of the process, applications were marked in a number of categories in order to determine how well they performed against the award criteria – for example, how impactful the innovation was shown to be on the health of children under five, whether the innovation could be scaled up more widely (if it could be replicated nationally or regionally for example), how sustainable it was, how truly innovative in comparison to other approaches and how appropriate the use of funds proposed.
This year, we are glad to announce that PATH Vietnam won the highest-portion prize of $400,000 to PATH Vietnam for its Immreg, a system which brings immunisation records into the digital age in Vietnam.
We also awarded 3 NGOs in Africa, Ecuador and Kenya for their efforts to make children’s lives better.
Why were Awards granted to organizations in the ‘developing’ countries?
We have the belief that these organisations are well placed to develop innovations that take in to account the challenges specific to their context, such as limited access to resources and challenging healthcare infrastructure. It was also felt that funding opportunities specifically targeted at organisations in developing countries are more limited and, because their work is less high profile than some larger international organisations, they may be less likely to secure funding. This was an opportunity to help some of these organisations develop and build recognition of their work.
What is the innovation from PATH Vietnamand why did it win an award?
PATH’s Immreg is enabling faster and more efficient management of individual immunisation records and vaccine delivery. Using this unique software, healthcare workers can now generate lists of people due for vaccination, as well as reports for system managers, with a web-based application that is accessible on Commune Health Centre (CHC) based computers and smart phones.
Currently, healthcare workers at 164 CHCs are using this web-based system to register pregnant mothers and newborns, track their immunization status, and remind them to participate in monthly immunisation days via SMS text reminders. This is saving health workers’ valuable time; enabling health workers to more effectively manage vaccine stocks; and improving access to vaccination:
- Immreg has cut the time to generate monthly lists of children due for vaccination from one to two days to just 5-30 minutes.
- Time to generate immunisation reports for babies under one year old was reduced from 20 to 3 minutes.
- There has been a significant increase in on-time immunization rates. Rates of full immunisation in the first year of life increased from 74.3 to 77.8% in a one-year pilot.
What are conditions that the immunization innovation applied nationwide?
As we are shared from PATH Vietnam, there are 3 necessary conditions to replicate this initiative at national scale.
Firstly, it requires the commitments from healthcare government from central to local levels. We also need to change the behavior of healthcare workers who have been using paper-based system and find no reason to switch to digital system, especially the old healthcare workers.
Secondly, we must have basic infrastructure such as PCs and internet connections to implement any digital innovation, especially down to 11,000 communes nationwide. The leaders from General Department of Preventive Medicine (GDPM) have committed to facilitate this application step by step in the provinces where meet the basic requirements.
And lastly, we need financial resources for human resource training and program monitoring.
Given the funding valued at 400,000USD from the Healthcare Innovation Award offered by GSK, PATH Vietnam is now supported to replicate this initiative to other provinces in VN.
We are looking forward to the changes and positive effect from Immreg of PATH Vietnam, so that more and more women and children benefit from this program.
Thank you for your time, Mr. Strenner