19 Nominees Announced in the “Savings Lives at Birth: Grand Challenges for Development”

Yesterday, 19 award nominees were announced at a high-level forum at the Savings Lives at Birth DevelopmentxChange awards ceremony. Sponsored by USAID, the Government of Norway, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The World Bank, and Grand Challenges Canada, the “Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development” competition called out to the global community to submit proposals for innovations that would help save the lives of mothers and babies through three key areas: technology, service delivery, and demand. 

More than 600 submissions were reviewed by the Grand Challenges Committee and 77 finalists were selected to present in the DevelopmentxChange Marketplace this week. The 19 award nominees announced yesterday will go on to a final negotiation period before the seed grant awards will be decided. Seed grants of up to $250,000 each will be given to demonstrate proof of concept for an innovation and grants of up to $2 million each will be awarded for scale-up transition innovations.

Additionally, two honorary awards were announced. The Peer Choice Award went to Monash University for its Low-cost, Needle-Free and Non-refrigerated treatment for PPH. The innovation transforms oxytocin, a refrigerated injectable drug used to treatment post-partum hemorrhage (PPH), into an inhalable substance that does not need a cold chain or needles for injection. The People’s Choice Award went to the UCSF Bixby Center and ARMMAN for Project mMitra: Voice Messaging and Animation Service to Improve MCH information access in rural India. This free mobile voice messaging and animated film service will provide culturally and language appropriate information for moms during the prenatal period.

At the opening of the forum with USAID Administrator Raj Shah, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasized that “grand challenges should not stop with the announcement of winners.” She urged all innovators to “keep going with these ideas and USAID will help develop and scale them to continue to improve and save the lives of women and newborns around the world.”

Check out the Seed Grant Award Nominees:

  1. Simulation Based Training for Emergency Cesarean Section – Operative Experience, Inc.
  2. Applying low cost health and information technologies at the community and clinic level in rural India – Health Point Services
  3. Development of Low-Cost, Bubble CPAP Kit and Oxygen Blender  - PATH
  4. Primary Prevention of Periodontal Disease in Relation to Preterm Birth in Malawi – Baylor College of Medicine
  5. Addressing the Fourth Delay: Improving Community Based Accountability for MNH  - Moi University School of Medicine
  6. Low-cost, needle-free, and non-refrigerated treatment for PPH – Monash University
  7. E-Partogram – Jhpiego Corporation
  8. Anti-retroviral Pouch for PMTCT During Home Birth – Duke University
  9. Use of mobile technology and pay-it-forward business model – Zoe Alexander Ltd.
  10. PIERS on the move: Pre-eclampsia Integrated Estimate of Risk assessment on a mobile phone – University of British Columbia
  11. ACT for Birth, Uganda (A= Audit, C= cell phones, T = Technology and training) – Save The Children
  12. Baby Monitor: Connecting Women and Infants to Care – Population Council
  13. A simple, rapid assessment tool to identify and triage preterm infants – Johns Hopkins University
  14. Odon Device for Assisted Vaginal Delivery – World Health Organization
  15. Low-Cost, Point-of-Care, Paper-based Microfluidic Diagnostics – Diagnostics For All, Inc.
  16. Sustainable Access to Maternal/Newborn Services: A Market Approach – Partners for Development
  17. Prenatal calcium to prevent preeclampsia and pre-term birth in resource- poor rural settings – The Hospital for Sick Children
  18. Micro health Franchise System – FINCON
  19. Low-Cost Respiratory Support: Reducing Early Neonatal Death in Rural Malawi – William Marsh Rice University

Check out the full list of 77 finalists.

Entry Comments

    • Aug 01
    • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    I have looked at several of the Seed Grant Award Nominees and I find these projects very interesting, particularly because many of them stress “low cost” solutions to saving lives at birth.  What is very obvious in developing countries is that effective programs, projects or devices for health and medical problems must be simple and low cost but still give the same outcome as the sophisticated and expensive technology used in the developed countries. 
    I recently read an article about the millions of babies born premature in developing countries, where the lack of an incubator with a cost of $20,000 is the cause of death of many of them. To combat this problem, graduate students from Stanford University invented an incubator that costs as little as $25.00, does not need electricity, and runs on hot water. 

    The device looks like a miniature sleeping bag and contains a pouch made out of “phase-changing material” that keeps the baby warm.  Just add hot water.  This device regulates temperature by absorbing extra heat when it is too hot and releasing extra heat when it is too cold.  The pouch will maintain the baby warm and alive until the baby is ready to regulate its own temperature.  According to the article, the device can be “reused hundreds of times” and it has already been used in India by private clinics and NGOs.  More information can be found in the article, Trunell, A. (2010). Five improvised medical gadgets that save money and lives. TakePart: Inspiration for Action. Retrieved from

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