GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a British multinational pharmaceutical company, has rolled out a three- year healthcare programme to support the training of more than 9,000 health workers in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.
GSK is investing £ 5.85 million into the project, which would involve the training of frontline health workers across the three countries as well as build on initiatives to help strengthen health systems.
A statement issued in Accra and copied to Ghana News Agency by Mr Samuel Nkansah, Head, Government Affairs, West Africa, said GSK is in partnership with Amref Health Africa, One Million Community Health Workers (1mCHW) Campaign and Save the Children project.
The statement said the programme is a significant step in GSK’s strategy to increase access to healthcare and deliver long-term economic growth across Africa, by stimulating research; increasing capacity in local medicine supply; and strengthening healthcare infrastructure.
It said the project also seeks to strengthen health systems by enabling staff to manage the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases as well as combat infectious illnesses and improve maternal and child health.
The statement said alongside the training, GSK’s investment is designed to support community health education and advocacy to help ensure that the programme would make a long-term impact.
It said GSK and its partners have supported the training of 25,000 health workers, reaching 6.5 million people, and extended the project to other areas in Africa where health inequalities persist.
The statement said Mr Ramil Burden, GSK Vice-President for Africa and Developing Countries, described frontline health workers as the backbone of resilient health systems, adding; “for many years, GSK has worked in collaboration to help swell the ranks of these essential staff and ensure that even the most remote and underserved populations can access the care they need”.
“This enables people to enjoy healthier lives and livelihoods, ultimately creating an environment in which communities and businesses can thrive. We hope our partnerships will be a catalyst for others to invest in and champion health workers.”
The statement said the investment from GSK would enable the 1mCHW Campaign to support the training of 1,800 health workers in Ghana, with an ambition to drive the training of thousands more health workers in subsequent years.
It said working with the Ghanaian government, on the 1mCHW Campaign, a project of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the GSK intends to pilot an approach whereby community health workers receive substantial training and ongoing supervision.
The statement said Sharon Kim, Deputy Director of 1mCHW Campaign, said: “Well-trained, motivated, and supported Community Health Workers (CHWs) are key to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), especially in places where access to high-quality, affordable care is limited”.
“This catalytic investment in Ghana’s health workforce will help Ghana to plan and work towards achieving UHC. We believe these CHWs will positively impact health in Ghana and also inspire others in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond to utilise these workers to their fullest potential.”
The statement said the GSK would support Save the Children’s efforts to improve access to lifesaving, quality healthcare for mothers, newborn babies and children by building the capacity of 5,000 frontline health workers across three Nigerian states.
It said Nigeria accounts for nearly one-quarter of Africa’s maternal and newborn deaths and that one out of every eight children in Nigeria will not reach the age of five, often as a result of common, preventable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea.
It said GSK’s investment will allow Save the Children to build on these initiatives by training frontline health workers on managing childhood diseases and educating mothers on disease prevention and practices to ensure early detection and treatment of common illnesses.
GSK was established in 2000 by the merger of Glaxo Wellcome (formed from Glaxo’s 1995 acquisition of Burroughs Wellcome) and SmithKline Beecham (from the 1989 merger of Beecham Group and SmithKline Beckman Corporation).