May 31, 2018    Follow us on Twitter   View our videos on YouTube
This year's event will be held on July 26th in Washington, D.C., bringing together a host of inspiring innovators, implementers, and pioneers working in the field of maternal and newborn health. By assembling leading innovators, development experts  and potential funders, the DevelopmentXChange is a crucial part of Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development and serves a major role in building a community to help meet the many challenges facing mothers and children across the globe.

Promising candidates for Round 8 awards will come together with current SL@B innovators for a global summit on tackling the challenge of maternal, newborn and neonatal mortality that is sure to be memorable on many levels.

As the event draws closer, we will have more details to share about the 8th annual Development XChange and how to be involved. Be sure to keep an eye on our Twitter account for regular updates by following @GCDSavinglives. To register please click here.
Click here to check out a recap of the 2017 Development XChange, and to watch a video highlighting past Development XChange events click here.  
 May 29th-June 1st Accelerating SL@B ---   Xcelerator for Innovators
Photo: VentureWell   
Led by the Accelerating SL@B Team including Duke University, VentureWell, and the consortium of implementing partners, the 2018 Xcelerator workshop will run from May 29th-June 1st in Nairobi, Kenya. The Xcelerator is an interactive, four-day workshop providing practical tools, technical support and shared learning opportunities for translating ideas into actions. Saving Lives at Birth innovators will have the opportunity to build critical knowledge and skills, articulate their innovation's value proposition, understand the value chain and their markets, and identify and map stakeholders.

This year, over 40 innovator teams will participate in the workshop and will work to address specific challenges at various stages on the path from development  to scale.

Click here to read more about Saving Lives at Birth Xcelerators.  
Antibiotic Use Leads to Drastic Reduction of Infant Deaths in Africa 
Photo: Boureima Hama/Agence France-Presse ---   Getty Images   
A large study involving nearly 200,000 children across three African countries has concluded that two doses annually of the antibiotic azithromycin may be effective in reducing infant mortality rates by as much as 25%. Referred to as the "Mordor Trial" and recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study (funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) found that mortality amongst postneonatal children in sub-Saharan Africa was lower in communities where azithromycin was distributed en masse than in communities assigned a placebo.

However, some experts argue that implementation of a policy with guidelines for mass distribution of antibiotics would need to take into strong consideration the potential for antibiotic resistance to materialize as a result.

The Essential Role of Midwives in Providing Quality Care 
Josephine is a USAID trained trained midwife in Liberia. Photo: USAID
International Day of the Midwife was recognized on May 5, 2018. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) published new guidelines for antenatal care and care during childbirth, which included recommendations for midwives to take a larger role in providing continuity of care throughout pregnancy, childbirth and post-childbirth. These guidelines have helped reduce the prevalence of preterm births by as much as 24% and may be a key factor in improving the health of infants globally.

According to WHO Chief Nursing Officer Elizabeth Iro, midwifery standards must be regulated and opportunities for skills' development should be provided in order to maximize the potential of support midwives can provide to pregnant women and new mothers. Iro points to evidence revealing that midwives who are equipped with these skills and competencies are able to provide 87% of all essential sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health services globally. The role of midwifery will be the theme of 2019's Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescent's Health 2016-2030.

Leveraging Blended Finance to Meet Sustainable Development Goals 
Illustration: Wikimedia Commons  
In a recent Opinion piece for DevEx, the authors  discuss the potential for a "blended finance" model to fund the interventions and programs, estimated to cost $5-7 trillion annually, that are necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A mix of public and private financial resources, blended finance involves leveraging development finance to assist innovators in accessing  private capital. An estimated $81 billion in blended finance was mobilized to eliminate poverty and protect the planet between 2012-2015, according to Convergence.

The article argues  that although blended finance investments could be key in bringing numerous actors to work together at distinct stages of a project's life cycle, there are also challenges to be navigated. "If blended finance stands a chance of meeting the trillion-dollar investment gap, development funders must develop a clear-eyed understanding of when it is an effective approach, and what role they can play to best support the investment," they state.  

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month! 
This May we focus on raising awareness about preeclampsia  ---  a condition occurring during or after pregnancy typically characterized by high blood pressure and sometimes associated with fluid retention and proteinuria.

While the exact numbers of preeclampsia cases annually are not known, preeclampsia accounts for approximately 10-15% of maternal deaths worldwide each year, most of which are in developing countries.

Oral/IV medications can help manage preeclampsia, although many affected individuals experience no symptoms, making it difficult to distinguish theirs from a typical pregnancy. Many SL@B innovators have dedicated their work toward finding solutions to diagnose preeclampsia in developing settings, such as PATH's PrCr Strip Test and the Urine Congo Red Dot test by the Research Institute at Nationwide Childrens Hospital, and tools to address preeclampsia once it arises such as William Marsh Rice University's low-power syringe pump.   

Click here to learn more about preeclampsia and how it affects women globally.

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