January 12, 2018    Follow us on Twitter   View our videos on YouTube
Spotlight Opportunity
USAID Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge:
Round 8 Call for Applications  
Saving Lives at Birth (SL@B): A Grand Challenge for Development is proud to announce its eighth call for applications. The focus of this call is to support the transition to scale of the most promising solutions to improve maternal and newborn health in poor, hard-to-reach communities around the world. Round 8 seeks to attract applicants with demonstrated impact on health outcomes and award funding to scale up these interventions.

Over the past seven years, Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development has established an expansive pipeline of maternal and newborn health innovations, catalyzing forward progress and continuing to help save lives both now and in the years to come. Many of our SL@B innovators are on the verge of scaling important developments in the global health field that could save more than 150,000 lives by 2030. Improving maternal and child survival rates remains a pressing, yet addressable gap ---  and in this round the SL@B partners continue to seek to scale up groundbreaking prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in underserved communities around the time of birth.
  • Submission Deadline: February 28, 2018 2:00 p.m. EST.
  • Download a copy of the Addendum [PDF, 321KB].
  • For access to the application portal, please click here.

Gates Foundation Report Shows Progress
in Tackling Global Maternal and Child Mortality 
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Kjetil Ree
A new report from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shows significant progress in a number of different areas of global health. Entitled "Goalkeepers: The Stories Behind the Data," this report released annually until 2030, highlights inroads made in fighting infectious disease, poverty, smoking rates, lack of vaccinations, and more.

The findings in the Gates Foundation report sheds light on the progress the public health community has made in reducing rates of childhood and maternal mortality. More than a million lives have been saved among children under five, with the rate of death having fallen from 85 deaths per 1,000 live births to only 38. For mothers, mortality rates have fallen from 275 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 179 deaths in 2016. These strides in maternal mortality are especially impressive because "for every new solution that saves a mother's life, you need to deliver 100 times as much of that solution to have the same impact."

Click here to read a case study focusing on improvements made in Ethiopia's maternal mortality rates.

Global Health Opportunities for Social Entrepreneurs 
Panel on social entrepreneurs at Spotlight Health Aspen Ideas Festival.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
In a recent op-ed, Forbes breaks down a round table discussion held with 12 experts and practitioners in health focusing on the role of social entrepreneurship in solving challenges in global health. Much of the discussion delved into women and children in the global health sphere, on which UNICEF's Stefan Peterson said, "If we are serious about achieving the SDG [Sustainable Development Goals], we need to focus on building strong health systems that deliver quality of care for every woman and every child, everywhere."

According to the article, narrowing the discussion about women's health may significantly inhibit progress. Instead, organizations and entrepreneurs should  pay special attention to all the factors that contribute to positive health outcomes for girls, including keeping girls in school during menstruation by ensuring they have access to feminine hygiene products and education, along with adequate facilities.

Involving Men in Women's Economic Development Projects 
An Indian NGO's program to train and financially support assistant teachers, like the woman shown here, has received active support from men and women. Photo Credit: Markus Liebl
A recent article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review highlights the growing interest in women's economic inclusion throughout recent years. Evidence shows that directing development projects toward women only, may actually be doing more harm than good for the cause. Excluding men from these projects is potentially unproductive because of patriarchal social structures that enable  men to continue to control important resources.

Moving forward, development programs that aim to improve the lives of women, should: 1. Involve men as participants in projects aimed at benefiting women; 2. Make project benefits available to both men and women; 3. Gain project support from all community members. Women-only spaces are can also serve an important role in achieving progress and women's leadership development programs are cited as an example.

Preparing for a Career in Innovative Entrepreneurship
Image Credit: VentureWell
VentureWell has recently launched Innovator Insights ---  a multi-part series to share valuable findings and best practices around embarking on a journey in I&E. The series and report will focus on areas critical to success for early stage innovators as well as for the community of trainers and coaches supporting tomorrow's inventor-entrepreneurs. Its first installment unpacks the importance of self-reflection and fostering an entrepreneurial mindset, both critical factors that contribute to an innovator's successful journey. It features several SL@B  innovators, including Donna Brezinski of Little Sparrows Technologies, Sebastian Manhart of Simprints, José Nuño of Unima, and Edward Bitarakwate of Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF).

The next installment of VentureWell's Innovator Insights Series will take a close look at the value of mentorship, coaching, and intensive training programs for early stage innovators. We look forward to reading!

Click here to learn more about how SL@B is supporting innovators to accelerate their path to scale and impact.

SL@B Round 7 Innovator Awards:  
Get to Know the Nominees
SL@B nominated 15 finalists for awards from over 550 applications for the 2017 Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge. For the next several months, the SL@B Grand Challenge Digest will highlight a new innovator from our portfolio.

Simprints Technology Limited (Cambridge, United Kingdom)

With over one third 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 health care providers often have no idea if the child has been immunized for things like diphtheria, or has a life-threatening diagnosis of anemia. Working with the world's best biometric laboratory at Michigan State University and partnering with UNICEF-EPRI in Northern Nigeria through a Round 7 Seed award, Simprints proposes to develop and test fingerprinting software and hardware capable of identifying newborns. This technology has the potential to create infallible vaccine records, exponentially improve the tracking of MNCH services, and help fight neonate abduction, trafficking, and exploitation.

In This Issue