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16.01.2020 08:59

Press Release: Novartis: Public-Private Collaboration Commits to Accelerate Access to Health Services in Africa, Reaching 1.7 Million People

Healthcare companies and philanthropies to fund training of thousands of

community health workers as part of larger initiative led by Last Mile

Health and Living Goods to advance universal health coverage


January 2020] -- Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, GSK and the

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have joined forces with Last Mile Health

and Living Goods to increase access to community-based primary

healthcare for nearly 1.7 million people in up to six African countries,

as part of their shared commitment to accelerate universal health

coverage. The Health Worker Training Initiative is a three-year

investment, generously matched by The Audacious Project, and totals USD

$18 million.

Harnessing the synergy of cross-industry collaboration is key to

advancing universal health coverage. Living Goods and Last Mile Health

have pioneered the community health worker model and are continually

exploring novel approaches to training and retaining community health

workers. By teaming up with Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer,

GSK and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, precious resources and

acumen can be maximized. All are united by the belief that community

health workers play a catalytic role, and all share a commitment towards

advancing universal health coverage.

Leveraging the unique expertise of each organization will drive tech

innovation and deepen impact. In addition to financial contributions,

industry partners will contribute disease-specific expertise and

experience in the discovery and development of new tools, which will

supplement the community health worker models pioneered by Last Mile

Health and Living Goods, in partnership with government.

Investing in community health workers produces some of the best returns

in health. Community health workers can yield a 10:1 return on

investment, due to a healthier population, increased employment, and

lower odds of health crises. In addition, community health workers can

help primary healthcare systems serve the majority of a population's

health needs, which means community health workers are one of the most

efficient and effective ways to achieve universal health coverage. This

partnership is a response to the growing call to action globally to

advance universal health coverage and Sustainable Development Goal 3.

"Focused investment in community health workers can accelerate progress

to make universal health coverage a reality," said Dave Ricks, chairman

and CEO of Lilly and president of the International Federation of

Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations. "Public-private

collaboration is critical to help governments lower barriers to quality

care and innovative medicines that save and improve people's lives."

"Community health workers are the critical frontline to sustainably

impact the health of communities in resource poor settings," said Vas

Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis. "Novartis is committed to strengthening

healthcare systems and is proud to be part of this coalition to use

digital technologies to reimagine the future of community health


The three-year investment will cover three areas:

-- Supporting the training and deployment of 2,500 digitally-enabled

community health workers, reaching nearly 1.7 million people by 2022.

Community health workers will be trained and deployed in Liberia, Kenya,

Uganda, Malawi and up to two additional countries.

-- Supporting Last Mile Health's Community Health Academy, which is an open

source, digital learning platform for community health workers and health

systems leaders used worldwide. Training curricula for community health

workers initially focuses on diarrheal diseases, family planning, malaria

and pneumonia, with further modules expected to address non-communicable

diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.

-- Contributing expertise and personnel to Living Goods' new Kenya

Performance Lab to develop mobile-based tech innovations that will

improve community health worker productivity, strengthen supply chains

and better identify obstacles to coverage. The Lab will leverage the

knowledge and assets of partners in areas including data science,

behavior change, performance management, analytics and technical health

expertise. Innovations would be introduced in Kenya and then scaled to

other countries within the broader initiative.

Together, these pieces of the investment aim to scale up access to

life-saving primary healthcare while building stronger, tech-enabled

community health programs for the future.

"Well-trained community health workers play an integral role in

providing quality care in low-resource settings," said Andrin Oswald,

Co-chair of the CEO Roundtable Executive Council and Director of Life

Sciences Partnerships at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "The Gates

Foundation is committed to working with partners across sectors to

achieve universal health coverage, which is necessary to achieving the

Sustainable Development Goals and reducing the burden of diseases that

disproportionately affect pregnant women and young children. We thank

the companies involved in this initiative for their efforts to increase

data-driven solutions to train and deploy effective community health


"This partnership will play a critical role in helping to scale and

empower the world's most promising health resource--community health

workers--so that they can thrive and effectively save lives," said Dr.

Jane Aceng, Uganda's Minister of Health. "Ensuring community health

workers have the right training, digital technology, medical equipment

and supervision is critical for ensuring they can help transform health

outcomes, no matter where people live."

Each of the six investors will contribute USD $1.5 million total over

the next three years. This funding will be matched by the Audacious

Project through an existing USD $50 million matching commitment to scale

community health workers in Africa, resulting in an USD $18 million

total investment.

This investment will also support the sustainability of community health

worker programs. Living Goods and Last Mile Health partner with

governments to deploy digitally-empowered community health workers. Not

only will this partnership support community health workers to reach

more patients, but the curricula and tools developed through the

investment will support improved community health worker performance for

years to come.

"We are inspired that healthcare companies are taking collective action

to strengthen community health systems in the public sector across

sub-Saharan Africa to advance universal health coverage," said Liz

Jarman, CEO of Living Goods, and Dr. Raj Panjabi, CEO of Last Mile

Health. "This partnership is much more than a financial commitment; it

joins a growing movement of philanthropists, companies, and governments

that have committed to scale digitally-empowered community health

workers and build stronger primary healthcare systems across Africa to

ultimately save more lives."

To learn more about the community health movement and efforts to advance

universal health coverage in partnership with governments, watch this

video produced by


media@gatesfoundation.o About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

rg Guided by the belief that every life

has equal value, the Bill & Melinda

Gates Foundation works to help all

people lead healthy, productive lives.

In developing countries, it focuses

on improving people's health and

giving them the chance to lift themselves

out of hunger and extreme poverty.

In the United States, it seeks to

ensure that all people--especially

those with the fewest resources--have

access to the opportunities they

need to succeed in school and life.

Based in Seattle, Washington, the

foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann

and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr.,

under the direction of Bill and Melinda

Gates and Warren Buffett.

----------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- About GSK

GSK is a science-led global healthcare

company with a special purpose: to

help people do more, feel better,

live longer. For further information

please visit

----------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- About Johnson & Johnson

At Johnson & Johnson, we believe

good health is the foundation of

vibrant lives, thriving communities,

and forward progress. That's why

for more than 130 years, we have

aimed to keep people well at every

age and every stage of life. Today,

as the world's largest and most broadly-based

health care company, we are committed

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

January 16, 2020 03:00 ET (08:00 GMT)

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