The Challenge

Groundbreaking ideas that can leapfrog existing products and conventional approaches

We are accustomed to advances in computers and cell phones that leapfrog existing solutions. The Saving Lives at Birth Challenge is about nurturing that same energy and innovation to the challenge of protecting mothers and newborns in the poorest places on earth during their most vulnerable hours. 

Throughout history, some of the greatest advances in development came from extending the reach of science and technology to those who didn’t have it.

Time and again, specific scientific, technological and operational breakthroughs have transformed insurmountable development challenges into solvable problems.

To accelerate substantial and sustainable progress against maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths at the community level, we need to harness the collective imagination and ingenuity of experts across a broad range of disciplines and expertise.

THIS CHALLENGE seeks innovative approaches to prevention and treatment across the following three areas.

A cellular phone iconetechnologies.

Roadblock: lack of medical technologies appropriate for the community or clinic setting

We invite bold ideas for science and technology advances that prevent, detect or treat maternal and newborn problems at the time of birth. Examples include simpler or portable technologies for newborn resuscitation, feeding, warming, and care of preterm and low birthweight newborns, infection management, and prevention and treatment of hypertensive disorders like preeclampsia/eclampsia.


service delivery.a nurse icon

Roadblock: too few trained, motivated, equipped and properly located health staff and caregivers

We invite bold ideas for new approaches to provide high-quality care at the time of birth. Examples may include new ways of using information and communication technology (ICT) to improve health and healthcare delivery in rural areas, approaches that bring the benefits of fixed health systems to the community setting, new incentive plans for recruiting and retaining skilled personnel, training programs for community-based or alternative health workers, or better ways to refer and transport sick newborns and mothers with complications.


a calendar icon with the number one listeddemand.

Roadblock: mothers in resource-poor settings often lack information about what services they need, what they can do, and what a difference it can make to access health care or adopt healthy behaviors.

We invite bold ideas for empowering and engaging pregnant women and their families. Examples may include innovative use of Information and computer technology (ICT) to incentivize individuals to seek care and/or adopt healthy behaviors; or mass communication methods that can change individual and collective behavior to improve outcomes around the time of birth.