Grand Challenges in Global Health Meeting: Day One

Since 2005, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has held annual meetings surrounding their Grand Challenge initiative.  The meetings predominately focus on scientific dialogue and shared problem solving with regard to accelerating scientific advances along the path to health impact. The meetings also celebrate global health leadership.  The following blog posts will provide daily summaries of the 2011 meeting in Delhi, India with a specific focus on family health. The series will conclude with a blog highlighting the key messages and themes of the meeting, which we hope will simulate thought around unresolved areas and space for discovery.   Follow us on Twitter @GCDSavingLives and #GCDelhi!

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This weekend, the Grand Challenge family enthusiastically welcomed its newest member, Saving Lives at Birth, to the annual Grand Challenge in Global Health meeting.  Co-hosted by Grand Challenges Canada, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, USAID, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) in New Delhi, India, the 2011 meeting consists of three tracks -vaccines and mucosal immunity, family health, and point-of-care diagnostics -while concurrently celebrating Indian innovation and partnership.  

In the opening plenary, partners and keynote speakers spoke of the forward-thinking, progressive Saving Lives at Birth grantees. Wendy Taylor of USAID said that the Saving Lives at Birth grantees “will continue to inspire new innovation” and Joy Lawn of Saving Newborn Lives highlighted the potential impact of several Saving Lives innovations, including WHO’s Odon Device and Jhpiego’s e-partogram, which help bring needed innovation to the “invisible world.”    Dr. Peter Singer of GCC said he was honored to be apart of the Grand Challenge “movement” and to see the “thrilling” progress of the Grand Challenge evolution over the past ten years.  Designed to foster scientific and technological innovation and increase visibility of greatest problems in global health, the Grand Challenge approach “bring concepts to reality.  ” Dr. Singer challenged the innovators in the audience to accelerate progress and bring the future of tomorrow closer to now.  

The innovators, buzzing with excitement and energy, seemed more than ready to accept the challenge.

The second half of the day was filled with several sessions on family health, focusing on the need to connect the user and the innovator, to develop a full suite of innovation (social, cultural, business and technology), and to support end –to-end product development that is primed for impact.