GSK and Barclays form partnership to increase access to healthcare and promote economic development in Zambia

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Barclays have formed a new partnership which aims to increase access to affordable healthcare and medicines for people in Zambia, while helping to create improved economic conditions for growth. GSK and Barclays are combining their skills and expertise to help remove financial barriers to healthcare access, while supporting small business development and job creation.

The partnership aims to create a model that can be scaled across Africa to help more people access affordable healthcare.

Despite substantial economic growth in Africa over the last few decades, access to affordable healthcare remains one of the greatest challenges to sustained economic development. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 11% of the world's population, yet bears 24% of the global disease burden and commands less than 1% of global health expenditure. It also faces a severe shortage of trained medical personnel, with just 3% of the world's health workers deployed in Sub-Saharan Africa[1].

GSK and Barclays will together invest up to £7m over 3 years, comprising financial support and on the ground resource, with the ambitious goal to reach 1 million out of the total population of 14 million people living in Zambia, by 2016. Working in partnership with government and other stakeholders, the programme will explore how to: help build a cost effective private sector medicine supply chain; establish small enterprise health outlets; test an affordable micro health insurance product; and embed healthcare education in existing community finance networks.

This month, a dedicated team has been mobilised on the ground in Lusaka, and is working with a range of organisations to implement the programme in Zambia.

Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK said: "Though prospects for growth are improving, Zambia still experiences significant healthcare challenges. By combining our specific resources and skills with those of Barclays, we can help unblock financial barriers and enhance government efforts to help increase access to affordable healthcare. Good health is vital for people to live more productive lives, which in turn will help to create the right conditions for Zambia's economic development and lead to a more prosperous society."

Antony Jenkins, Barclays Group Chief Executive, said: "Sustainable economic development and the growth of our businesses in Africa is intrinsically linked to the wellbeing of the communities in which we operate: healthy communities lead to healthy markets. We want to use our core business activities to address societal challenges systematically but we know we can't achieve this alone. We are extremely pleased to be working with GSK."

Hon Joseph Kasonde, Minister of Health, Zambia said: "We are very pleased to support the Barclays GSK Programme which aligns well with priorities in the Zambian National Health Strategic Plan. This innovative partnership has potential to develop sustainable private sector solutions that complement government efforts to improve essential medical supplies and healthcare for under-served communities in Zambia and ultimately Africa."

Notes to editors

Four key areas of the partnership include:

  • Building a cost effective private sector supply chain to help reduce stock shortages and support delivery of essential medicines into rural areas.
  • Establishing small private enterprise health outlets in areas where people may otherwise have to travel significant distances to access basic healthcare.
  • Testing a micro health insurance product to help low-income people more easily afford medicines and healthcare services.
  • Integrating health education services into community finance networks, to help reduce sickness and mitigate its economic impact on poorer communities.

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GSK has a long history in the developing world. Its vaccines are included in immunisation campaigns in 170 countries worldwide and of the 883 million vaccine doses delivered in 2012, more than 80% were shipped for use in developing countries.

In 2010, GSK created the dedicated Developing Countries and Market Access operating unit which is focused on expanding access to medicines for people in the world's poorest countries. In these countries, it reinvests 20% of any profits it makes back into projects that strengthen healthcare infrastructure. In Zambia, this has enabled a 'train-the-trainer' programme where mid-level health workers are supported to upskill community health workers.

In 2011, GSK donated 2.8 million doses of albendazole to treat children in Zambia at risk from soil-transmitted helminths (STH) through a school-based programme organised by the Ministries of Health and Education and supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

About Barclays

Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth and investment management with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. Barclays' purpose is to help people achieve their ambitions - in the right way.

With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs approximately 140,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

Barclays has operated in Zambia for nearly 100 years.