[Sponsored Report] GSK Korea strives to improve world health

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[Sponsored Report] GSK Korea strives to improve world health

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A GSK volunteer injects vaccine for hepatitis A to a child from Happy Homeschool, the care program GlaxoSmithKline sponsors.Provided by the company

The mission of global health care company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is “to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.” The company tries to extend a helping hand not only to its patients but to the socially disadvantaged. Its Korean unit is also working on a mission to make the world healthier.

The company is enthusiastic about providing medical care both at home and abroad. It supports volunteer medical services for rural or disaster areas by offering medical aid. The managing director of GSK Korea, Kim Jin-ho, is also a co-representative of the Foundation for Medical Cooperation of Korea, an organization established to improve the poor medical care in North Korea. Together with Americare, a relief organization that focuses on North Korea, the company supports medical services in the area.

In 2004, the company donated 7.5 billion won ($7.4 million) worth of vaccines, a refrigerator to store them and disposable syringes for children living in North Korea, as well as 20 million won for vaccination services through International Vaccine Institute (IVI), a Seoul-based United Nations organization devoted to vaccine research.

Its medical support is not just limited to North Korea but to other areas that need a helping hand. In May 2013, GSK established a partnership with Save the Children, an international charity especially for children, to provide aid to one million children in developing countries. The drug maker will provide its knowledge about diseases and medication. It will not only provide therapeutic food, medicine and vaccines for children but also invest in training medical professionals to treat the children.

Employees from GSK’s offices in 115 countries, including Korea, willingly donate portions of their wages and the company encourages their contribution by matching their donations. The total amount of the year’s donations added up to 1.2 billion won.

This year, the Korean unit came up with a new fund-raising model called “10% benefit sharing,” which donates 10 percent of the most popular products bought in the company’s in-house cafeteria. That way, the employees make it a habit to donate in their everyday life, not just on a particular date. This new model has spread to many other overseas offices, including the head office in Brentford, England.

The company also supports its local community with the Happy Smile Fund. From 2009, the company supported Korea Food for the Hungry International, an NGO that fights against poverty and hunger. GSK workers and the company together support Happy Homeschool, a program run by an organization that provides education and food for children of families with financial difficulties.

From 2011, the company’s fund has also sponsored an evening school that takes care of children not under their legal guardian’s protection at late hours. The children also receive free vaccinations from the company and mentoring from its employees.

GSK employees are guaranteed Orange Days, one or two days off their paid working hours each year exclusively to volunteer at a program of their choice. The workers also can be members of the Orange Volunteer Team, which visits nearby orphanages, welfare centers or disaster areas to serve the community members who need the team’s help.

“We will invent new programs to encourage more of our employees each year to engage in our practice to make a healthier world,” said a GSK Korea official.

By Kim Young-shin [yskim11@joongang.co.kr]

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