WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development partners today announced 30 Round 4 award nominees at the closing forum of the annual DevelopmentXChange where the innovators showcased innovative ideas to save the lives of mothers and newborns in developing countries, and competed for funding to realize and scale their vision.
The award nominees cut across maternal and neonatal health, and present not only disruptive technologies, but also new approaches and ideas on delivering services and influencing maternal health practices in the poorest places on earth. The nominees will now enter into final negotiations before awards are issued.
The Saving Lives at Birth DevelopmentXChange featured plenary discussions focused on meeting the needs and realities of women and children in low-resource locations as well as workshops that explored business planning, strategies for scaling innovations, and insight from previous round awardees. The three-day event concluded with a forum featuring Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID; Paul Farmer, Co-Founder, Partners in Health; and Paul Polak, author and entrepreneur.
The Saving Lives at Birth partnership, launched in 2011, includes the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada (funded by the Government of Canada), and the U.K’s Department for International Development (DFID).
The Grand Challenge is a global call for groundbreaking, scalable solutions to infant and maternal mortality around the time of birth. Saving Lives at Birth is currently in its fourth and final award round for the program’s original $50 million commitment. The Grand Challenge has funded 59 innovations in its first three rounds, aiming to address the 289,000 maternal deaths, 2.9 million neo-natal deaths, and 2.6 million stillbirths that occur each year.
The Saving Lives at Birth DevelopmentXChange provided previous round awardees and Round 4 finalists the opportunity to present their innovations in a dynamic open marketplace, and exchange ideas with development experts and potential funders. This community of solvers is taking on the immense challenge of protecting mothers and newborns in developing countries during their most vulnerable hours.
Award nominees of Saving Lives at Birth Round 4 include 4 transition-to-scale grant nominees:
Changamka Microhealth – Kenya: Scale-up proven e-voucher program to reduce financial and informational barriers to care in rural Kenya.
D-Tree International, Inc – Cambridge, MA, USA: Scale-up phone-based tool that supports screening and counseling of pregnant women and facilitates follow-up care for mothers and their infants in Tanzania.
PharmAccess Foundation – Netherlands: Scale-up community-based health insurance program to improve access to affordable and quality health care for low-income families in Nigeria.
Trustees of Boston University – Boston, MA, USA: Scale-up an affordable, effective, and portable counterfeit and substandard drug detector device.
And 26 seed grant nominees:
Becton, Dickinson and Company – Franklin Lakes, NJ, USA: Develop an innovative multiplex, point-of-care test for predicting preeclampsia risk which will cost less than $1.
The Brigham and Women's Hospital – Boston, MA, USA: Develop a simple tool and mobile phone app to improve community-based case management of premature and jaundiced newborns.
Burnet Institute – Australia: Develop a finger-stick based rapid syphilis point-of-care test suitable for global distribution.
Development Research and Projects Centre – Nigeria: Implement an immersive campaign to turn the most conservative religious/community leaders in Nigeria into champions of maternal health.
Diagnostics For All – Cambridge, MA, USA: Develop an equipment-free, qualitative HIV test for infants that reduces the turnaround time for results from over one month to under an hour.
Family Health International – Durham, NC, USA: Synchronize immunization visits with family planning re-supply to improve immunization coverage, promote a more logical infant growth-monitoring schedule and raise contraceptive prevalence.
INCAP – Nicaragua: Promote sustainable distribution and consumption of rice fortified with folic acid to prevent spina bifida and other life-threatening birth defects in Nicaragua.
INCLEN Trust International – India: Develop a low-cost, mobile phone cardiotocographic device for antenatal monitoring to prevent perinatal mortality in low resource settings.
International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research – Bangladesh: Evaluate a self-regulating tamponade for only $1.50 designed to increase safety, efficacy, and ease-of-use over existing devices to arrest postpartum hemorrhage.
Laerdal Global Health – Norway: Develop a low-cost fetal heart rate monitor coupled with an innovative training program to increase timely and correct obstetric responses.
Little Sparrows Technologies – Winchester, MA, USA: Refine a low-cost, low-energy, easy-to-transport device that makes high intensity phototherapy universally accessible.
Massachusetts General Hospital – Boston, MA, USA: Develop a low-cost, thermal imaging app on smartphones to diagnose bacterial neonatal pneumonia in Pakistan.
Massachusetts General Hospital – Boston, MA, USA: Develop a non-contact mobile oximeter to detect birth asphyxia and pneumonia infection in high-risk newborns.
Massachusetts General Hospital – Boston, MA, USA: Validate a rapid-acting general anesthetic package for emergency cesarean section in Kenya.
Monash University – Australia: Investigate an effective oxytocin product that does not rely on cold chain to maintain quality or trained healthcare workers to administer safely.
Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) – Seattle, WA, USA: Validate a bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) kit and oxygen blender for neonates costing a fraction of typical devices.
Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) – Seattle, WA, USA: Develop a heat-stable oxytocin in a fast-dissolving oral tablet to treat postpartum hemorrhage (PPH).
Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) – Seattle, WA, USA: Develop a low-cost, point-of-care screening and diagnosis of preeclampsia/eclampsia through urine-based biomarkers.
Project HOPE – Millwood, VA, USA: Test a device that improves the identification of sick neonates by accurately measuring an infant’s respiratory rate and indicating whether the rate recorded is abnormal.
Queen's University Belfast – United Kingdom: Develop a simple method to discover new uses for old, generic drugs in treatment of preeclampsia.
Rice University – Houston, TX, USA: Develop a $25, battery-powered device placed around a baby’s chest that detects and automatically corrects apnea.
SimPrints Technology Ltd. – United Kingdom: Promote a rugged, low-cost, portable biometric scanner and software allowing for real-time identification and access to patient records via fingerprint.
Sisu Global Health – Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Develop of a transfusion device to treat ruptured ectopic pregnancies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Unima – Mexico: Develop an on-site, rapid diagnostic test of tuberculosis and HIV for mothers and newborns costing roughly 10% of current diagnostic tests.
The University of Sydney – Australia: Test the efficiency of naturally occurring lactoferrin in correcting iron deficiency and preventing low birth weight and preterm birth.
University of British Columbia – Canada: Validate an integrated maternal, fetal and newborn mHealth platform to identify risks related to leading causes of maternal and perinatal death.