Grand Challenges in Global Health Meeting: Day Two

Day Two of the Grand Challenges in Global Health meeting opened with a session entitled “Celebrating Innovation and Partnership.”   The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Jeff Raikes introduced the session, underscoring the role of innovation within the Foundation.  “Innovation is in Gates’ DNA,” he emphasized, and “is at the core of what will reshape the world.”  Raikes then drew an insightful analogy, which was repeated in various forms throughout the conference.  He compared a bird in flight to the development of innovation - much like a bird needs both its wings to fly, innovation needs both discovery and delivery.  Raikes praised Saving Lives at Birth for addressing the upstream and downstream “wings” of innovation.

The innovation and partnership session, consisting of three panels, highlighted diagnostics and family health innovation in India, vaccine discovery and development innovation in India, and innovation across emerging economies.

The second half of the day focused on common challenges in family health surrounding discovery, development, and delivery.  A panel of neonatologists offered their advice for product developers hoping to reach newborns across India.  Speakers emphasized the importance of user-centered design for products aimed at both rural and urban areas. Two speakers provided their experience in integrating human-centered design in their work. Rex Widner from GE’s Rural Health Initative said this type of design is a key component of its strategy.   Likewise, Steve Hodgins from MCHIP/JSI (and Saving Lives at Birth Transition Grant!) asked the target community their thoughts on application and use of chlorhexidine when developing the innovation.  This factored into the decision to formulate chlorhexidine into a gel rather than a liquid.

The day ended with three speakers sharing their work on innovation delivery and getting products to the target population.