Healthworker Program

Partnership objectives

  1. Improve health outcomes by supporting frontline health workers who operate in least developed countries (LDC) and reinvesting 20% of profits made in LDCs back into their country’s healthcare infrastructure.
  2. Address the estimated shortfall of at least 7.2 million health workers needed globally in order to provide lifesaving healthcare for mothers and children.

The partnership aims to galvanize support to encourage both local and international organizations to make similar commitments in LDCs. The partnership aims to galvanize support to encourage both local and international organizations to make similar commitments in LDCs. Copyright GSK

What are the health needs and challenges?

The chronic shortage of trained frontline health workers in LDCs is recognized as one of the most fundamental constraints to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and providing millions of people with the treatment they need. Appropriately trained and adequately supported frontline health workers can improve access to basic health services in their communities, leading to improved health outcomes, especially for mothers and children.

For example, in some settings, a fully trained and well-supported community health worker can effectively deliver treatments, and provide health education for common childhood illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and acute malnutrition and reach up to 5,000 children in a year.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

By investing in training for frontline health workers, we are helping ensure the sustainability of our access programs. Since 2009, we have reinvested 20% of profits generated from medicines sold in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), back into those countries’ healthcare systems, partnering with three different NGOs – Amref Health Africa, Save the Children, and CARE International. Following the launch of the ‘Investing in Africa and Developing Countries’ strategy, the frontline healthworker program has been expanded to cover all non-LDCs in Africa, starting with Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. The HCW program has delivered significant and measurable impact including reducing mortality rates in Nepal and catalysing investment in the health workforce in Ghana. Through Global Community Partnerships we provide money, medicines, time and equipment to bring sustainable improvements in the health and education of our communities.

All programs are to be agreed with country ministries of health and in alignment with their health priorities. Each agency is responsible for establishing a regional Health Infrastructure Partnerships (HIP), including representatives from groups such as local healthcare organizations, government officials and the WHO, through which the funding will be channeled and projects selected.

The project aims:

  • To be sustainable: Reinvesting a proportion of profits made in the LDCs provides a sustainable model to grow GSK's business and gives communities the assurance of a long-term funding commitment, not just for one year, but for years to come.
  • To be scalable: The projects can be scaled up according to the level of investment available.
  • To address clear healthcare needs in LDC countries: the shortage of trained healthcare workers is particularly acute in rural and marginalized communities.
  • To build relationships with the MoH and other in-country stakeholders, including GSK, to ensure there is buy-in and alignment in program focus and therefore impact: Each NGO will be responsible for establishing a Health Infrastructure Partnerships through which the projects will be selected and funding channeled. These partnerships will include representatives from local healthcare organizations, government officials and the WHO.
  • To be replicable: The partnership aims to galvanize support to encourage both local and international organizations to make similar commitments in LDCs. We hope to use our learning to influence policy at local, national and international levels to encourage replication and ensure a sustainable impact.


Many of the approved projects have been set up in the lower quartile of the LDC index (e.g. Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger), countries where there is very little presence or investment from multinational corporations. Some examples of these include:

  • Awareness raising for health workers and communities through health promotion in the Cibitoke province in Burundi.
  • Funding the recruitment and training of community health workers in the remote Kodiolo district in Mali, to improve the levels of preventative and curative health interventions at the community level and strengthen linkages to the public health system.
  • Improve health services through provision of additional training for health professionals and midwives, whilst successfully advocating for the exemption from user fees system for children and mothers suffering from malnutrition in Burkina Faso, which came into effect in April 2016.
  • Positively impacting healthy behaviours and mortality rates through midwife and community health worker training in Nepal.
  • Championing innovative approaches to unlock bottlenecks in access to quality training by supporting the development of e-learning to improve access to quality training for approximately 500 nurses and midwives in Tanzania and Uganda.
  • Advocate for greater coverage of properly resourced health workers and to strengthen lifesaving healthcare through working closely with health professionals, key decision makers & opinion formers for human resources for health in Togo, Benin, Mali and Niger.


In 2015, to increase access to healthcare and deliver long-term economic growth across Africa, GSK expanded health worker training beyond LDCs to Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. Since 2009, £21 million has been invested to improve access to healthcare which has helped train 43,000 health workers. The program has reached 17.5 million people across 39 countries. 


Save the Children and GSK in Liberia

20% reinvestment in least developed countries (LDC)

Partnership information

Company(ies) GlaxoSmithKline

Partner(s) Afghanistan Minsitry of Public Health, African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), Bangladesh Ministry of Health, Benin Ministry of Health, Burkina Faso Minsitry of Health, Burundi Ministry of Health, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Central African Republic Ministry of Health, Chad Ministry of Health, Democratic Republic of Congo Ministry of Health, Ethiopian Ministry of Health, European Commission, European Union, Guinea Ministry of Health, Haitian Ministry of Health, Health Store Foundation, Liberia Ministry of Health, Mali Ministry of Health, Marie Stopes International, Mauritania Ministry of Health, Niger Ministry of Health, Organisation de Solidarité Internationale, Plan International, Save the Children, Senegal Ministry of Education, Sierra Leone Minsitry of Health, South Sudan Ministry of Health, Sudan Ministry of Health, Togo Minsitry of Health, UNFPA, World Health Organization (WHO), Yemen Ministry of Public Health

Type of Partner(s) Government, IGOs, NGOs

Therapeutic Focus Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, Non-Communicable Diseases, Women and Children's Health, Other, Infectious Diseases

Disease(s) Children's Health, Diabetes, Family Planning, Sexual & Reproductive Health, General Health, Malaria, Malnutrition, Obstetrics, Pneumonia, Rotavirus, Typhoid Fever, Women's Health, Yellow Fever

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Financial Support, Health System Infrastructure - Development of Physical Infrastructure, Health System Infrastructure - Training

Targeted Population(s) Children, Elderly, Marginalised / Indigenous People, Men, Mothers, People with low income, Women, Youth

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 22

Country(ies) Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Yemen

Start Date 2009

More information GSK Developing Countries Unit

Anticipated completion date Ongoing

« Our experience has shown that community health workers provide a life-saving link to rural, isolated families in developing countries. »

Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive of CARE International UK