Press Release: Calling Immunisation Innovators – new initiative to boost child vaccination rates in Ethiopia launched by Save the Children

Friday 26 April 2024

 The cold chain system protects vaccines. It keeps them cold and safe on various legs of a journey from the central store to remote communities in Somali Region, Ethiopia – where families are inoculated against preventable diseases such as measles and pneumonia, by health workers trained by Save the Children. | Hanna Adcock / Save the Children

Press Release in Amharic can be found here.

Ahead of World Immunization Week, Save the Children has today launched a new $1 million initiative, funded by GSK, to empower local organisations in Ethiopia and Nigeria and fast-track cutting-edge solutions to tackle long standing barriers which prevent children from receiving vaccinations. The Save the Children Immunisation Accelerator is open for applications from community-based organisations, and from local and national NGOs, research teams, social enterprises and tech companies. 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.

The continent of Africa has the highest number in the world of ‘zero dose’ children – those who have never received a routine vaccination: 8.7 million children1. 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, the Accelerator is seeking innovators that are addressing 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.

Melkamu Ayalew, Head, Immunization Service Desk, Federal Ministry of Health, Ethiopia, said:

“Within the current context, whereby there are high numbers of children who haven’t gotten a chance to get immunized either entirely or partially, the MOH encourages efforts driving local solutions and innovations to address existing challenges, creating ownership, and enhancing community participation.”

Mohamed Dahir, Interim Country Director, Save the Children International in Ethiopia, said:

“Save the Children Immunization Accelerator is a great opportunity that will help us to generate locally led, innovative solutions that can significantly address some of the barriers that challenge access to immunization. It will also complement on-going efforts towards reaching zero-dose and under immunized children in Ethiopia.”

Dr Thomas Breuer, Chief Global Health Officer, GSK said:

“We’re 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.”

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 a robust selection criteria and consistently evaluated.

Find out more and apply at Applications are open until 24th May 2024, followed by a second call out in 2025.


[1] World Health Organization Data

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About Save the Children

Save the Children exists to help every child get the chance of a future they deserve. In more than 100 countries, including the UK, we make sure children stay safe, healthy and learning – finding new ways to reach children who need us most. For a century, we’ve stood up for children’s rights and made sure their voices are heard. With children, for children, we change the future for good.

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About GSK

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