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Saving Lives at Birth, innovative ideas to fight mortality meet in a global contest

53 groundbreaking ideas to save women and children after birth in poor communities around the world. These are the finalists of the Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge.

53 promising ideas to defeat mortality were shared in the final stage of the this year’s Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge. All finalists met in Washington, DC between the 25th and 27th of July, learned from each other, interacted with potential collaborators, and participated in a number of discussion groups and one-on-one meetings. Engineers and entrepreneurs, scientists and students gathered for this event, their innovations focused on solutions to make the 48 hours after birth safer for children and mothers in the developing areas of the world.

A 50 million dollar investment

This partnership leverages the collective resources of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Norway (Norad), the Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationGrand Challenges Canada, and The World Bank Partnersexpected to provide nearly 14 million dollars for the grant programme’s first round of funding. Over five years the partners aim to invest at least 50 million dollars in groundbreaking and sustainable projects in the areas of technology development, service delivery and demand creation with the potential of having a transformative effect on the lives of pregnant women and their babies in the hardest to reach corners of the world. Additional partners are also the UK’s Department of International Development (DFID) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

Saving Lives at Birth
USAID © Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images

Launched in 2011, Saving Lives at Birth is currently in its seventh year. To date the partners have funded 107 innovative tools and approaches aiming to address the 303,000 maternal deaths, 2.7 million neonatal deaths and 2.6 million stillbirths that occur around the world each year.

15 award nominees

This year’s competition received 750 submissions and 15 award nominees were selected. Nearly half of the submissions came from low- and middle-income countries. Ten projects among the 53 finalists were from the Global Health Technology Coalition (GHTC), which brings together over 25 nonprofits advancing health tools. From Neonatal Intuitive Feeding Technology for infants who have difficulties breastfeeding to Projecting Health India, a video education project, every corner of the world was involved in finding solutions which could soon be nominated for the transition-to-scale category which will be announced later this year.

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