A nursing mother getting her child immunised

Save the Children, GSK launch $1m Project to Address Childhood Immunisation in Nigeria, Ethiopia

Ahead of World Immunisation Week, Save the Children and GSK have launched a new $1 million initiative to empower local organisations in Nigeria and Ethiopia and fast-track cutting-edge solutions to tackle long-standing barriers which prevent children from receiving vaccinations.

Save the Children in a statement by its Nigeria acting media and communications manager, Rhoda Ndahi said, Africa has the highest number of ‘zero dose’ children, that is, those who have never received a routine vaccination in the world.

According to the statement, “8.7 million children; More than a third of these children live in Nigeria and Ethiopia, where the combined impacts of the pandemic, poverty, climate change, instability and conflict are disrupting vaccination campaigns.

“Last year Save the Children and GSK renewed their decade-long partnership for a further five years, with an investment of £15 million from GSK enabling two new vaccination programmes in Ethiopia and Nigeria focused on reducing the number of zero dose children.

“Building on this work, innovators applying to the Accelerator can address any type of barrier to the access and utilisation of vaccines on both the supply and demand side, such as improving community engagement, streamlining logistics to increase the availability and accessibility of vaccines and strengthening data management to track vaccine coverage rates.

“Grants on offer are up to the value of $100,000 per project, alongside wrap-around support services from technical guidance to legal advice and branding assistance, tailored to address the diverse needs of varying size companies and startups,” it read.

The statement quoted Duncan Harvey, Country Director of Save the Children International Nigeria, as saying: “Save the Children has been deeply committed to implementing immunisation-related projects and interventions across Nigeria in response to the high rate of zero-dose and unimmunized children in the country.

“The Save the Children and GSK Immunisation Accelerator was born out of an understanding of the urgent necessity for locally-led innovation to achieve our shared vision of a world where no child suffers from a vaccine-preventable disease.

“This collaboration opens new opportunities and efforts in tackling the barriers and defiance to immunisation, especially in our communities. As locally led innovators, the uniqueness and relatability of the innovations will address widely the issues of zero-dose immunized children and provide more sustainable solutions that translate to a higher number of children being immunized.”

It also quoted Chief Global Health Officer, GSK, Dr Thomas Breuer, saying “We are excited to see applications open for the Immunisation Accelerator. Our partnership with Save the Children is guided by local communities, experts and stakeholders, so seeking out the local knowledge and capabilities in Ethiopia and Nigeria is fundamental in finding unique innovations that could help address the critical need for improvements to vaccination rates amongst children.

“We eagerly anticipate the fresh ideas that the Accelerator will bring, and we’re ready at GSK to support these innovations come to fruition, to help change the trajectory for children in Nigeria, Ethiopia, and beyond,” it read.

The statement however said the initiative is open for applications from community-based organisations, national NGOs, local research teams, social enterprises, and tech companies, adding that, the most promising approaches will get the opportunity to increase their impact through financial and technical support and pilot their innovations in a live setting.

“To be considered, projects must be at the testing stage of the innovation cycle and show evidence of how they could address a priority immunisation barrier. Each will be reviewed against robust selection criteria and consistently evaluated. Find out more and apply at www.stc-accelerator.org Applications are open until 24th May 2024, followed by a second call out in 2025.”

SOURCE: The Nation