International Health Partners' Christmas campaign: Working with pharma for patients worldwide

LMIC donated medicines
Gabriel Miguel Bero

International Health Partners (IHP), a small UK registered charity that supports people around the world with lifesaving medicines, is launching its annual Christmas giving campaign on Tuesday 28th November, otherwise known as Giving Tuesday, the global day of giving.

At least two billion people worldwide live without reliable access to essential medicines. Working directly with the pharmaceutical industry to procure donated medicines and supplies – enabled through BOAZ, its donations management system – IHP then coordinates the shipment and delivery to NGO partners in-country, and distributes the products through medical professionals and clinics to patients, all free of charge.

IHP supports disaster-hit and vulnerable communities that have limited access to medicines, and has responded to crises in Ukraine, to the Türkiye-Syria earthquake and many others, and most recently has been gearing up support in the Middle East.

Founded by Anthony Dunnett CBE in 2004 – Dunnett, an advisor in international development, acted as president of the charity until 2015 – in order to coordinate and transport donations of medicines and medical supplies in response to the Indian Ocean earthquake that triggered a series of tsunamis. The following years King Charles III (then Prince of Wales) became the charity’s new patron.

IHP donated over 35 million treatments (>$200m) to more than 1,000 projects in 105 countries in its first 10 years. In 2014, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) licensed IHP a wholesale dealer, enabling it to procure, export, and supply medicines. The following year, its partnership with Alloga commenced and in 2016 the charity became a member of the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD) and the Integral Alliance.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, IHP was able to provide medicines and supplies that ensured the ongoing health needs of 36 countries were met, including emergency shipments to Lebanon after the explosion that shook the capital, Beirut, in 2020. The following year, IHP began a new partnership with World Child Cancer to improve access to oncology treatments for children with cancer. It has also scaled up its work to meet unmet mental health needs in Lebanon and in Gaza.

This Christmas, the campaign – which will run for one week only, ending on Tuesday 5th December – will focus on supporting children with cancer in Malawi and Cameroon, providing lifesaving medicines to child oncology programmes.

Every year, 400,000 children are diagnosed with cancer, but the chances of survival are a geographical lottery. Indeed, where a child with cancer is born is the strongest predictor of health outcomes: in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs), fewer than 30% of children with cancer are cured, compared to 80% in high-income countries. Yet, there are cost-effective medicines to address the most treatable forms of cancer – it is accessing them that is a challenge and a barrier.

Through the campaign, IHP will help fund the provision of chemotherapy and other lifesaving treatments to give children facing cancer a fighting chance this Christmas.

IHP’s campaign will go live at midday on Tuesday 28th November here.

Image by Gabriel Miguel Bero from Pixabay