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Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Each initiative is an experiment in the use of challenges to focus innovation on making an impact. Individual challenges address some of the same problems, but from differing perspectives.


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Challenges: Saving Lives at Birth
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Chamas for Change: Scaling A Validated Maternal and Child Peer Support and Microfinance Care Model

Julia Songok, Moi University (Eldoret, Kenya)
Oct 1, 2019
Grand Challenges for Development> Saving Lives at Birth (Round 8)

Chamas for Change addresses the inequities driving poor Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) outcomes by integrating health, social and financial literacy education with a saving/loans program to foster women's empowerment through community health volunteer (CHV)-led women's groups. Chamas introduces a core set of adult capabilities that break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and provide children with a healthy, positive environment. Our innovative solution demonstrates efficacy, acceptability and sustainability in our communities. In a pilot study of our program, compared to controls, our women were 73% more likely to attend 4 prenatal visits, 67% more likely to deliver in facility, 75% more likely to breastfeed exclusively to 6 months and 98% more likely to receive a CHV home visit

Validation of an Innovative, Onsite, Easy-To-Use Chlorine Generator (SE Flow) for Infection Prevention and Control in Labor Wards

Adam Drolet, Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) (Seattle, Washington, United States)
Apr 1, 2019
Grand Challenges for Development> Saving Lives at Birth (Round 8)

Data from the World Health Organization states that roughly 303,000 women and 2.7 million newborns died in 2015 due to pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications, of which 10% to 15% were directly linked to unhygienic conditions during labor and birth. PATH seek to validate the usability, acceptability, effectiveness, and cost requirements of the SE Flow device in eight district-level labor wards in Kisumu, Kenya.

Advancing A Simple, Low-Cost Rapid Diagnostic Test for Urinary Adipsin: A Promising New Biomarker-Based Test for Improving Preeclampsia Screening in Low-Resource Settings

Troy Leader, Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) (Seattle, Washington, United States)
Mar 1, 2019
Grand Challenges for Development> Saving Lives at Birth (Round 8)

Preeclampsia (PE) remains one of the leading global causes of maternal death and disability. Under this proposal, we seek to incorporate a new, innovative design feature to our prototype that will further improve its usability by enabling midstream urine collection and thus align the test process to that of a common one-step, at-home pregnancy test. No current PE diagnostic test, including the current protein-only dipstick, allows for such a simple test process.

An Interactive Voice-Controlled Virtual Mentor to Support Birth Attendants in Resource-Constrained Setting

Dilys Walker, University of California San Francisco (San Francisco, California, United States)
Mar 1, 2019
Grand Challenges for Development> Saving Lives at Birth (Round 8)

The innovation is “Virtual Mentor" that when triggered by a spoken command interacts audibly with the birth attendant during a postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) event to increase adherence to established management algorithms and timeliness of interventions. We will use an “off-the-shelf" package to rapidly and inexpensively develop the prototype for a PPH VM--the Amazon Alexa device.

Addressing the Third Delay: Scaling Up an Obstetric Triage System to Reduce Delay and Improve the Quality of Care in High-Risk Referral Hospitals in Ghana

Medge Owen, Kybele - Ghana (Accra, Ghana)
Jan 1, 2019
Grand Challenges for Development> Saving Lives at Birth (Round 8)

Maternal mortality ratios in Ghana referral hospitals remain as high as 957-1,004/100,000 live births. Poor outcomes and dismal quality of care stem from delayed identification of complications upon arrival; women wait can hours or even days for evaluation and treatment. Kybele-Ghana will implement its obstetric triage program to six referral hospitals over two years, ultimately reaching 80% of Ghana's tertiary hospitals.

Neonate Biometric Scanner for Frontline Health Workers

Daniel Storisteanu, SimPrints Technology Ltd. (Cambridge, United Kingdom)
Jan 1, 2019
Grand Challenges for Development> Saving Lives at Birth (Round 8)

With over 1/3rd of births unregistered in developing countries, the lack of reliable infant identification methods is a major bottleneck for governments, aid agencies, and NGOs in the delivery health services. The inability to link neonates to a health record means healthcare providers often have no idea if the child has been immunized. We propose to develop fingerprinting software and hardware capable of identifying newborns.

Saving the Unborn Child from Malaria: Safety and Efficacy of PfSPZ Vaccine for Pregnant Women and Unborn Children (MRTC)

Alassane Dicko, Université des Sciences, des Techniques et des Technologies de Bamako (USTTB) (Bamako, Mali)
Jan 1, 2019
Grand Challenges for Development> Saving Lives at Birth (Round 8)

Malaria is a scourge of pregnant women in developing countries, causing maternal, perinatal and infant mortality. Sanaria's PfSPZ Vaccine prevents malaria infection both in laboratory settings and in Africa. This project will test if the vaccine prevents infection during pregnancy and improves newborn outcomes in order to determine the protective effects of vaccination against the background of a pregnancy registry study enrolling ~900 women each year in Ouelessebougou, Mali.

Scaling the BEMPU Hypothermia Alert Device Across Indian and International Markets

Ratul Narain, Bempu Health Private Limited (Bangalore, Karnataka, India)
Jan 1, 2019
Grand Challenges for Development> Saving Lives at Birth (Round 8)

Newborns are unable to regulate their body temperature often leading to hypothermia, a condition affecting up to 85% of newborns globally and approximately 4-12 million Indian newborns yearly. The BEMPU Hypothermia Alert Device is a newborn temperature-monitoring wristband that alerts caregivers if their newborn is hypothermic enabling intervention well before complications or death can occur.

National Scale-Up of A Comprehensive Program for the Care of Premature and Small Newborns Through the Introduction of a National Health Insurance Benefit Package

Mariella Castillo, Canadian UNICEF Committee (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Nov 30, 2018
Grand Challenges for Development> Saving Lives at Birth (Round 6)

UNICEF, together with the Department of Health (DOH) and PhilHealth collaborated to develop a national health insurance benefit package for prematurity and small babies launched in late 2016. The project seeks to catalyze the readiness of government hospitals to be contracted for the special health financing package.

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit www.grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.