Tuesday, November 25, 2014

GSK Romania: Helping people live longer

GSK Romania is an extremely focused organization. Here's the reason. 

"Romanians continue to have one of the lowest life expectancy rates in the European Union, with 77.3 years on average for women, the lowest in the EU, and 69.8 for men, second lowest after the Baltic countries, according to OECD Health at a Glance 2012 data. Heart, circulatory and respiratory diseases and cancer are the main causes of death in Romania. The infant mortality rate in Romania (deaths of infants under one year old per 1,000 live births) is double the average European rate."

Isn't that a compelling motivator for a healthcare company? It's at the core of GSK Romania's business and corporate responsibility activities. You can read more in GSK Romania's 3rd annual Corporate Responsibility Report (and second report in accordance with GRI G4 core guidelines) that was published just this week. Once again, I supported GSK Romania in developing and preparing this report. It's always inspiring to work with a company so committed to making a positive impact.

Life expectancy
Romania is a country in Southeast Central Europe with a population of almost 20 million in an area of around 238,000 square kilometers. The world life expectancy map, which is based on World Health Organization statistics from 2011, shows that Romania is ranked the 78th country in the world for life expectancy - up to four years lower than most other countries in the European Union. Only Latvia and Lithuania have a slightly lower rate. It's not just about length of life - a few more years here or there. It's also about the quality of life... healthy life expectancy. GSK Romania has a mission to advance health and well-being in Romania by supporting healthcare infrastructure and patients through awareness, education, supply of innovative medicines and healthcare products. 

Locally relevant 
A significant part of the problem in Romania is the lack of consistent government priority for healthcare funding and reform of the healthcare infrastructure. Many governmental changes have led to discontinuity in policy reforms and lack of progress in critical healthcare development over several years, such as a revision of the reimbursement list of medicines to enable access to life-saving new drugs for patients in Romania. This is the context in which a local company, part of a leading global healthcare concern, operates. This is why it is important for the local subsidiary to know the unique local conditions, needs, challenges and expectations, and ensure that its business and corporate responsibility strategy is aligned with the local, not only global, needs of society. Drawing on a wealth of resource, innovation, capability and policy direction at global level, GSK locally has the opportunity to make a big difference to the lives of Romanians... not only the length of their lives but also the quality of life and the way people are able to enjoy healthy lifestyles. This is the real value of local reporting. It's a reflection of the engagement, planning and delivery of local positive impact. GSK Romania has been committed to doing this since its start in Romania since 1989, and has been publicly reporting on progress for the past three years. 

Supporting healthcare imperatives
An example of a defining local issue, very relevant to the state of healthcare in Romania, is the doctor exodus. In a country with a low rate of medical doctors in proportion to the population needs (Romania has 2.4 doctors per 1,000 citizens, one of the lowest rates in Europe and well below the average of 3.6 doctors), Romania has been suffering from an exodus of doctors which has reached a level of more than 14,000 doctors in the past few years, who seek to make a better living in other countries where they can be paid more, gain access to professional learning and development and feel respected and valued in their profession. In many cases, due to the challenges they face in Romania, they have been packing up and leaving. This is undermining the quality of healthcare services and accessibility to treatments for patients. GSK Romania has supported an initiative designed to reverse this trend - a campaign called “My profession: doctor in Romania”, driven by the Foreign Investors Council, through the Council's Healthcare Task-force which is led by GSK Romania. The campaign aims to build widespread recognition for the role of doctors in Romania and provide practical support, including through new legislation, to encourage doctors to stay in the country for the benefit of Romanian patients. The campaign projects positive examples of doctors who decided to stay in Romania and has received widespread attention through active media communications and even won a European marketing award. This specific issue in Romania is just one of the areas GSK Romania is connecting with local healthcare imperatives and using its resources, leverage and commitment to improve the situation.

Apel pentru companii - Pascal Prigent from De Profesie Medic on Vimeo.

Check out the video above (it's in English) with former GSK Romania General Manager Pascal Prigent at the launch of the "My profession: doctor in Romania" campaign, in which he explains that healthcare is a critical part of the economy. GSK Romania's continuing role in supporting the campaign is now led by GSK Romania's current General Manager, Barbara Cygler. 

The GSK Romania CR Report for 2013 is aligned with the global reporting style, tone, look and feel of the GSK parent company while specifically showcasing locally relevant performance and impacts relating to the many ways GSK Romania supports local healthcare for the benefit of local patients and the way GSK Romania does business. Rather than me running through all the highlights in a loooong narrative in this post, take a look at the following infographic:


Stakeholder commentaries
GSK Romania's 2013 report also includes insights from several external expert stakeholders who were interviewed individually and provided personal views to help GSK Romania review and refresh its material focus and reconfirm its strategic direction. All these stakeholder insights are recorded in full in the report appendix (Pages 62-64) but here are some highlights:

GSK Romania remains one of the few local companies in Romania - and I believe still the only one in the Romanian pharma sector - to publicly disclose its performance and practices.

Take a look. Give feedback.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of Understanding G4: the Concise guide to Next Generation Sustainability Reporting  AND  Sustainability Reporting for SMEs: Competitive Advantage Through Transparency AND CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices . Contact me via Twitter (@elainecohen)  or via my business website www.b-yond.biz   (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm).  Check out our G4 Report Expert Analysis Service - for published G4 reports or pre-publication - write to Elaine at info@b-yond.biz to help make your G4 reporting  even better. 

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