2017 Finalists

In its seventh round, 53 promising finalists selected from over 550 applications will come together to compete in the final stage of the 2017 Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge.  The finalists gathered at the DevelopmentXChange in Washington DC, from July 25-27.  There, they connected with each other, interacted with potential collaborators, and met technical advisors in a number of discussion groups and one-on-one meetings designed to facilitate further innovation and impact. 

The partners nominated 15 finalists for awards. Check out the links below to learn more about the 15 award nominees and their exciting innovations!

Organization Organization Location Project
Advanced Innovative Medical Technologies, LLC Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Severe respiratory illnesses in neonates are a leading cause of pediatric mortality worldwide. Over 1.5 million infants die of respiratory distress each year—99% in low and middle income countries. Bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is being successfully implemented by SL@B grantees PATH and Pumani, alongside many others, to save up to 70% of infants in respiratory distress in resource-limited settings.

Validation of the NeoVent, a Low-Cost, Low-Tech Noninvasive Pressure Ventilator, to Save Infant Lives in Nepal, Malawi and Beyond
Assist International Ripon, California, USA

This innovation aims to save the lives of newborns and mothers by treating newborn respiratory issues and complications during C-section procedures by creating a sustainable, affordable and easily accessible source of medical oxygen administered by trained clinicians. This oxygen will be provided by a financially sustainable production and distribution facility able to supply to the hospitals and health centers within its catchment area through a unique “milkman delivery” system.

Integrated Oxygen Scale Up Solution in Ethiopia
Avigo Health LLC Washington, D.C., USA

Current applications of financial incentives for demand-generation in maternal care, such as conditional cash transfers, have improved uptake of antenatal care, but have shown inconsistent effects on facility delivery and are often complex to administer at scale. Avigo Health proposes to offer an explicit, unconditional service guarantee – the Warranty on Womanhood, or “WoW” – to pregnant women in Nasarawa State, Nigeria, who opt for birth in a health facility.

Warranty on Womanhood
Bempu Health Private Limited Bangalore, India

Newborns are unable to regulate their body temperature which often leads to hypothermia, a condition affecting up to 85% of newborns globally and approximately 4-12 million Indian newborns yearly. Hypothermia can result in poor growth, poor organ development, and death. Regular temperature monitoring is the standard of care in developed countries; however, in low-resource clinics, nurses are overworked and skip temperature readings due to competing priorities, and parents do not regularly monitor temperature with a thermometer due to lack of awareness or education.

Scaling the BEMPU Hypothermia Alert Device Across Indian and International Markets
Chancellor Masters & Scholars of the University of Oxford Oxford, United Kingdom

Neonatal sepsis is a leading cause of preventable neonatal mortality. Ceftriaxone, listed by the WHO as an essential medicine, is one of three antibiotics recommended for treatment. It is only available as an injection, limiting use to hospitals, to which access is often difficult or impossible. In high mortality countries, about 60% of families refuse referral to hospital for young infants with critical illness. 

A Ceftriaxone Rectal Dosage Product to Prevent Neonatal Sepsis Deaths
Children's Hospital Corporation Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Hypothermia contributes to approx. 40% of the 2.9 million annual neonatal deaths (Darmstadt GL, et al., Health Policy and Planning 2008;23:101-117) that occur largely in low-income countries. This project will address neonatal hypothermia in resource-limited settings with an easy-to-use, electricity-free, inexpensive, reusable complement to Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC). Incubators and warming tables are expensive, difficult to use and to clean, and require electricity. KMC is ideal but occasionally insufficient or unavailable and needs a complementary option.

Infant Warmer Project: An Inexpensive, Re-Usable, Non-Electric Innovation for Neonatal Care
Curamericas Global Inc. Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Appalling maternal and neonatal mortality afflict the rural indigenous people of Guatemala. Government health facilities are rarely used because they are neither physically accessible nor culturally acceptable to the indigenous population. Ministry of Health facilities are distant and difficult and costly to access. They do not reach out to communities to stimulate demand for their services, are open only during business hours, are not accountable to their communities, and Maya language and culture are ignored and even scorned by non-indigenous health workers.

The Casa Materna Rural Community Birthing Center: A New Paradigm for Achieving Equitable Coverage of Evidence-Based Maternal and Newborn Care for Indigenous Women in Rural Guatemala Through Task Shifting and Community Empowerment
Doctors With Africa CUAMM Padova, Italy

CUAMM aims to scale up the use of birth cushions (BCs), a low-cost, low-technology, and locally-made device that will improve quality of institutional deliveries in Uganda. The ultimate goal of this proposal is to fully assess the life-saving potential of bringing a promising innovation (BCs) to scale in terms of increased institutional deliveries and, ultimately, lives saved. CUAMM intends to distribute BCs to 30 Hospitals and 70 HC-IVs in Uganda, including private structures, promoting public-private partnership.

Saving Lives at Birth With Simple, Low-Cost Innovation in Uganda
Fetalease Limited Zichron Yaacov, Israel

Current estimates suggest that 1.5% of vaginal deliveries involve Shoulder Dystocia (SD), which causes fetal injury, permanent disability and death. Maternal morbidity can also be caused by postpartum hemorrhage and more. Current management of SD is by a sequence of manual maneuvers - known to pose the risk of injury to the fetus such as Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI) - for delivering the shoulders. Worldwide figures for BPI do not exist. Extrapolation from published reports suggests that worldwide over 50K newborns sustain permanent BPI annually.

Clinical Validation of a Simple to Use, Disposable and Inexpensive Device for Safe Extraction of the Fetus During Emergency Cases of Shoulder Dystocia Thereby Preventing Both Fetal and Maternal Injury and Death in Developing Countries and Worldwide
FREO2 Foundation Australia Bundoora, Australia

A major challenge exists when a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening hypoxemic illness at a peripheral health center but is too sick to be safely transported without oxygen. FREO2 Foundation Australia will meet this need by developing OxyPump, a low cost portable oxygen concentrator capable of safely meeting transit oxygen requirements and therefore enabling referral. OxyPump will allow health care workers to prescribe any oxygen concentration between air and 90%, without the need for mixers, at approximately 1/8th the cost of traditional portable oxygen concentrators.

OxyPump: A Low-Cost, Portable Oxygen Concentrator
FREO2 Foundation Australia Bundoora, Australia

Current solar-powered oxygen concentrator systems have high capital and recurrent costs because they use batteries and inverters to store energy to run the concentrator at night. This system removes the need for batteries, and thus more than 60% of the capital cost and most of the recurrent costs. This approach will deliver a 90% reduction in the cost per liter of oxygen delivered in rural off-grid settings. This system runs the concentrator from the solar panels, stores oxygen in the Low-Pressure Oxygen Storage system, and delivers oxygen from that store during the night.

FREO2 Solar: The First Battery-Free Solar-Powered Oxygen System for Small Health Facilities
Governing Council of the University of Toronto Toronto, Canada

Insufficient iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 in the diet is a major contributor to maternal, neonatal and infant deaths, and leads to thwarted development, low work capacity and immunity (iron), birth defects (folic acid) and pernicious anemia. Iodine deficiency diseases can be successfully addressed by salt iodization. Quadruple fortification of salt (QFS) is a comprehensive food fortification strategy that can effectively prevent damage caused by these related deficiencies.

Saving Lives at Birth: Quadruple Fortified Salt: An Efficient and Scaleable Vehicle for Simultaneous Delivery of Iron, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 and Iodine in Low Resource Settings
Gradian Health Systems New York, New York, USA

Zambia faces a difficult environment for providing critical obstetric services: 80% of Zambians live 2+ hours from surgical and obstetric care, only 22% of the country has access to reliable electricity, there’s a sparse physician population in rural areas, and there is a poor supply of medical oxygen. Gradian proposes to equip all 33 hospitals in 4 Zambian provinces with appropriate technology to deliver anesthesia in any setting – even without power and oxygen.

Improving Surgical and Obstetric Care in Zambia Through Reliable Anesthesia Technology and Specialized Training
Ifakara Health Institute Morogoro, Tanzania

Over 28% of all maternal deaths in Tanzania are caused by postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). According to National Blood Transfusion Services (NTBS), 450,000 units of blood are required each year, but only 133,077 units are donated via voluntary basis, which is equal to 30% of total need. Despite established causes and prevention strategies in place, many mothers still experience PPH. Blood transfusion is an emergency lifesaving therapy to prevent death from PPH.

Empowering Bodaboda Cyclist Clubs to Donate Blood for Mothers With Postpartum Hemorrhage After Delivery by Establishing Readily Available Blood Bank (BB)
INMED Partnerships for Children Sterling, Virginia, USA

Data suggests that the incidence of neonatal jaundice in Peru is underreported, particularly in rural areas where home births are common and where women who do give birth in health facilities may return home with their infants prior to the peak onset of severe jaundice. Subsequently, they face significant barriers to accessing follow-up care, resulting in significant treatment delays and risk for poor health outcomes. Furthermore, few community-based health care facilities are properly equipped to deliver phototherapy.

Scaling Diagnosis and Treatment of Severe Neonatal Jaundice in Peru Through Community-Based Networks
Innovations for Poverty Action New Haven, Connecticut, USA

This project addresses the problem of unmet need for family planning in Zambia and its subsequent impact on maternal and child health. Using a demand creation approach, an innovative curriculum provides men a clear understanding of the causes and risk factors of maternal mortality. This curriculum aims to increase demand for family planning and to ultimately reduce realized fertility, leading to improved maternal and child health.

Male Fertility Preferences and Maternal Mortality
Jacaranda Health Nairobi, Kenya

Healthy birth spacing is strongly associated with improved perinatal outcomes. In Kenya, half of all pregnancies occur before the recommended 24-month birth-to-pregnancy interval, in part due to discontinuation of modern family planning methods. A study in two of Nairobi’s slums found that almost half of women discontinued a method of family planning within 12 months of initiation (Mumah et al., 2015). However, relatively little investment has gone into innovation in this area.

Support for Contraceptive Continuation: mHealth Innovation to Improve Postpartum Family Planning Outcomes and Healthy Birth Spacing
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland, USA

A majority of neonatal deaths within the first week of life occur at home due to undetected treatable illnesses. Community health workers (CHWs) serve as the frontline of defense for communities by screening and referring severely ill neonates. Insufficient numbers of CHWs and delayed postnatal visits limit program effectiveness, creating a bottleneck in providing timely and appropriate care.

NeMo: Empowering Mothers to Identify Neonatal Illness
Lembaga Kesehatan Budi Kemuliaan Jakarta, Indonesia

As the oldest and largest maternal and child health hospital in Indonesia, LKBK has a social mission to provide high-quality services to the poor and most vulnerable. LKBK proposes to integrate the ePartogram digitized decision support system in their network of six facilities to facilitate improved quality of care (QOC) and referrals during the intrapartum period.

Decisions to Save Lives: Point-of-Care and Referral Decision Support for Efficient Care in Public and Private Sector Facilities in Indonesia
Little Sparrows Technologies Winchester, Massachusetts, USA

Morbidity and mortality from kernicterus resulting from severe neonatal jaundice remains a significant burden in low resource areas of the world. Contributing factors in jaundice case management include failure to identify infants at risk, failure to assess “need-to-treat” using accepted clinical guidelines and failure to rapidly initiate high intensity phototherapy for infants meeting treatment criteria. To date, a context appropriate, comprehensive jaundice case management system for low resource areas has not been developed.

Jaundice Case Management Package for Low Resource Areas
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

The MIT team has developed a new low-cost mobile tool that can be used with a mobile phone to help predict preeclampsia, which is the second leading cause of maternal mortality. The tool measures Pulse Wave Velocity (PWV), which is a direct measurement of vascular resistance and a leading manifestation of the endothelial dysfunction associated with preeclampsia. Compared to other traditional predictors of preeclampsia (BP, proteinuria, PO2Sat), the PWV measurement is fast, non-invasive, low-cost, and simple to administer.

Naja: A Mobile Photoplethysmographic Analysis Tool for Early Detection of Preeclampsia and Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy
Mbarara University of Science and Technology Mbarara, Uganda

Birth asphyxia is a significant contributor to neonatal mortality directly resulting in up to 1.8 million stillbirths and newborn deaths annually. These deaths can be averted by empowering birth attendants to ventilate babies effectively. Effective ventilation requires birth attendants to reach quality ventilation quickly and minimally interrupt it. Mbarara University demonstrated that their innovation, the Augmented Infant Resuscitator (AIR), empowers health workers to achieve and maintain effective ventilation.

Augmented Infant Resuscitator: Transitioning a Novel Behavior Change Innovation to Drive Newborn Ventilation Skills Enhancement to Improve Newborn Outcomes at Birth
Neopenda Chicago, Illinois, USA

In low resource healthcare facilities, staffing limitations and lack of equipment and supplies make it difficult to deliver high quality care to newborns. Within the constraints of these environments, innovative low-cost technologies and systems have great potential for impact, by augmenting the capacity of existing healthcare workers and resources.

Closing the Care Gap for Newborns: Neopenda Wearable Vital Signs Monitor
Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo, Norway

Bangladesh is a promising example of reduced maternal and newborn mortality globally, but evidence suggests that ongoing inefficiencies in continuity and quality of care will impede further improvement, especially for the poorest and most marginalized. This project will replace an existing static electronic reporting system for RMNCH in Bangladesh with an enhanced, interactive longitudinal electronic health registry system (the RMNCH eRegistry), to increase both quality and continuity of care in service delivery, and encourage demand for services.

RMNCH eRegistries: Scaling Up an Electronic System for Community Health Care Providers in Bangladesh
PATH Seattle, Washington, USA

Preeclampsia (PE) remains one of the leading global causes of maternal death and disability. Early and accurate identification of women at high risk for developing PE is key to linking women to appropriate interventions to improve clinical outcomes and reduce morbidity and mortality due to PE. New biomarker-based tests for PE have shown great potential to allow for more timely and accurate diagnosis, as compared to current tools used throughout low-resource settings including the protein-only dipstick.

Advancing a Simple, Low-Cost Rapid Diagnostic Test for Urinary Adipsin: A Promising New Biomarker-Based Test for Improving Pre-Eclampsia Screening in Low-Resource Settings
PATH Seattle, Washington, USA

According to the World Health Organization, every year an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm with preterm birth complications, the leading cause of death among children younger than 5 years. Human milk banks play a critical role in ensuring that safe, high-quality human milk, the most nutritious and immunologically beneficial sustenance available to newborns, is available to infants whose mothers are unable to directly provide their own milk.

Innovative Packaging and Pasteurization for Donor Human Milk to Improve Health Outcomes for Preterm Infants
PATH Seattle, Washington, USA

Data from the World Health Organization states that roughly 303,000 women and 2.7 million newborns died in 2015 due to pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications, of which 10% to 15% were directly linked to unhygienic conditions during labor and birth. Health facility staff in low-resource settings face numerous resource gaps and challenges to providing appropriate, equitable, and hygienic health care services to all mothers and infants, including the lack of sufficient and appropriate disinfection solutions for surfaces and medical equipment.

Validation of an Innovative, Onsite, Easy-to-Use Chlorine Generator (SE Flow) for Infection Prevention and Control in Labor Wards
PATH/Massachusetts General Hospital USA

PATH, the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Global Health and Human Rights, and their world-class collaborators are working to expand access to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for newborns. They have developed and field piloted a novel, newborn respiratory package consisting of a low-cost bubble CPAP (bCPAP) device, oxygen blender, nasal prongs and pulse oximeter, together with a best-evidence package of training, checklists, manuals, and wall charts.

Validation of an Innovative Newborn Respiratory Package of Equipment and Training
Plackal Techno Systems Private Limited Bangalore, India

There are 220 million women worldwide who have an unmet need for family planning resources and services. In 2014, the WHO stated that by reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, 60% of maternal deaths and 57% of child deaths could be averted. Plackal Techno Systems Pvt. Ltd. plans to expand family planning information and services to young girls, women, and their partners across India through a culturally appropriate, localized, and empowering reproductive health app, Maya.

Plackal Techno Systems Has Developed a Bold, New Information Communication Technology Used to Empower Indian Women and Their Families to Take Charge of Their Reproductive Health Through the Easy-to-Use App, Maya
Population Council New York, New York, USA

Women and families are reluctant to report incidents of disrespect and abuse (D&A) due to fear of reprisal and lack of confidence in the system to mitigate mistreatment during childbirth. Furthermore, frontline healthcare providers who are committed to quality of care are not recognized for their contribution to providing RMC. Although scaling up interventions for promoting RMC are underway, they are not consistent and do not provide opportunity for sustained efforts.

Building Social Accountability Structures for Respectful Maternity Care in Kenya: “RMC Virtual Space”
Population Services International Washington, D.C., USA

Population Services International (PSI) and its partner, The Stanford Program for International Reproductive Education and Services (SPIRES), propose this transition-to-scale grant to build upon a previous proof of concept pilot study of the dedicated postpartum intrauterine device (PPIUD) inserter.

Go-to-Market Strategies to Create and Sustain Demand for the Postpartum Intrauterine Device (PPIUD) Inserter in Both Public and Private Sectors in India; Demonstration of the PPIUD in Uganda
Preterm Birth Initiative East Africa San Francisco, California, USA

There is a well-documented shortage of skilled birth attendants in low- and middle-income countries, and their workload has increased dramatically with the recent and rapid increase of facility births. Most birth attendants receive basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care (BEmONC) training, but post-training support to ensure use of emergency guidelines and protocols is usually lacking.

“Help, the Mother Is Bleeding!” An Interactive Voice-Controlled Virtual Mentor to Support Birth Attendants in Resource-Constrained Settings
Redd Barna Oslo, Norway

Malawi has the highest rate of preterm birth worldwide, with an estimated 18% of live births occurring preterm. Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of newborn deaths and account for almost 40% of child mortality. The CarePlus Wrap is the first low cost baby carrier especially developed for providing improved skin-to-skin and breastfeeding for preterm newborns.

Helping Small Babies Grow: Scaling Up the CarePlus Wrap
Save the Children Federation, Inc. Fairfield, Connecticut, USA

Each year in Kenya, 13,300 young infants die due to direct complications of premature birth. Lack of follow-up of preterm babies discharged from facility Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) remains a challenge to improving newborn survival. Save the Children, working in partnership and co-creation with the Kenya Ministry of Health and local partners, including information and communication technology (ICT) provider Muva, will develop, test, and evaluate a comprehensive solution that addresses barriers to follow-up at the household and health system levels.

Minimizing Loss to Follow-Up of Preterm Babies After Discharge From Kangaroo Mother Care Units in Kenya
Shift Labs, Inc. Seattle, Washington, USA

This project introduces an infusion monitoring device, the DripAssist Infusion Rate Monitor, to increase safe access to best practices in the administration of oxytocin and magnesium sulfate during labor—medications used to prevent postpartum hemorrhage, preeclampsia, and eclampsia. 

Evaluation of an Infusion Monitoring Device as a Cost-Effective Way to Increase Safe Access to Oxytocin and Magnesium Sulfate
SimPrints Technology Limited Cambridge, United Kingdom

Reliable patient identification is a huge obstacle to the delivery of MNCH services by health workers. Patient names overlap or are spelled in multiple ways, and the poorest often lack formal identification like birth certificates. This leads to duplicate records, misidentification, and weak continuity of care essential to MNCH care. As mothers ‘fall through the cracks’ and lack follow-up, they miss critical care for themselves and their children during the vulnerable perinatal period, leading to a sixfold increased chance of mortality (Yego et al., 2014).

Scaling Up Simprints: Mobile Biometrics for MNCH Care in Bangladesh
SimPrints Technology Limited Cambridge, United Kingdom

With over 1/3 of births unregistered in developing countries, the lack of reliable infant identification methods is a major bottleneck for governments, aid agencies, and NGOs in the delivery health services. The inability to link neonates to a health record means health care providers often have no idea if the child has been immunized for things like diphtheria, or has a life-threatening diagnosis of anemia.

Neonate Biometric Scanner for Frontline Health Workers
Sisu Global Health Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Life-saving surgery often cannot be scheduled if there is no access to blood, making this a critical gap in patient care, particularly impacting mothers suffering from ruptured ectopic pregnancy. For cases of internal bleeding, there is the option to salvage and recycle a patient's own blood (autotransfusion). The simple, manual methods currently used across Sub-Saharan Africa, employing a soup ladle and gauze, save lives but are unsafe to the patient and clinician. Hemafuse will provide access to blood in cases of internal bleeding and be a safer, faster, more accessible alternative.

Measurement of Impact of Hemafuse, an Autologous Blood Transfusion Device
Spin-Darc LLC Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Spin-Darc LLC is developing a rapid microbial detection device that implements a unique method for the detection of contaminant microbes using an unmodified optical disk drive (DVD). The envisaged ultimate result will be a fieldable, low-cost, versatile microbial detection device usable in poor, hard-to-reach communities worldwide, and enabling healthcare workers or volunteers with minimal training to rapidly diagnose bacterial infections in mothers and newborns, such as Group B Streptococcus, etc.

Rapid Digital Microbial Detection Device Usable in Low-Resource Settings
Summit Institute of Development Mataram, Indonesia

Reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) services are provided by multiple community-based frontline health workers (FHW), including midwives, vaccinators, nutritionists, and health volunteers, all with different responsibility and expertise. They may work in isolation without coordination, and clients typically visit each FHW to receive RMNCH services. This leads to fragmented care, low coverage and quality, and increased mortality.

The Golden Generation: Thriving Community Health Through Client-Centered Precision Care With Coordinated Teams of Frontline Health Workers and Next-Generation mHealth
TDA Research, Inc. Wheat Ridge, Colorado, USA

Currently, sterile water and Sterile Water for Injection (SWFI) is not available at the vast majority of rural African and Asian medical clinics and other low resource locations. Sterile water is needed for surgery, IV fluids (i.e. dextrose solutions for hypoglycemia), hydrotherapies, diluting intravenous medication (e.g. antibiotics, anticancer drugs, opioids, etc.) for neonates and newborns, where erroneous use of non-sterile water (microbial contamination) can lead to life threatening emergencies.

Sterile Water for Neonatal Care
Terre des Hommes Foundation Lausanne, Switzerland

Despite the efforts to decrease pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality, the adherence of healthcare workers to evidence-based antenatal care (ANC) guidelines and safe childbirth checklists and the quality of counseling to mothers is still low. This project aims to address this challenge by developing and testing a digital job aid in health facilities in Burkina Faso that support the adherence to ANC and safe childbirth guidelines by healthcare workers and improve data on maternal and neonatal health services at the district level.

Improving Maternal and Neonatal Care at Primary Healthcare Facilities in Burkina Faso Through a Digital Job Aid
The American Academy of Pediatrics Elk Grove Village, Illinois, USA

NeoBeat, a new, low-cost, innovative newborn heart rate monitor, combined with the Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) educational training program, addresses the widespread global health problem of neonatal mortality and morbidity due to misclassification of stillbirths and birth asphyxia. An estimated 1.19 million intrapartum stillbirths occur yearly, of which 98% take place in low and middle-income countries. Many of these newborns have a heart rate (HR) when they are born, but do not breathe.

Newborn Heart Rate as a Catalyst for Improved Survival
The Global Social Innovation Initiative Orland Park, Illinois, USA

This innovation aims to provide energy to resource-limited settings to allow these areas to store vaccines and medicines, maintain the cold chain, power lighting and small medical equipment, and support vital mHealth and telemedicine services. This project takes a science and technology approach to develop a device that produces portable, low-cost, and reliable electricity. The product works essentially like watering a plant. It uses semiconductor chips that generate current when exposed to temperature gradients.

Low-Cost, Reliable Power Generation From Naturally Occurring Evaporative Cooling for Healthcare
Totohealth Nairobi, Kenya

Reduction of maternal and newborn mortality remains a major public health concern in low- and middle-income countries including Kenya. The goal of this project is to test an integrated approach to reducing the staggering high maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity in Turkana County, Kenya.

Integrated Totoride and Totohealth
United Nations Children's Fund Philippines Country Office Makati City, Philippines

With a neonatal mortality rate of 13 deaths per 1,000 live births, almost half of all under-five child deaths in the Philippines are newborns. Out of those newborns who die, 60 percent succumb to complications brought about by prematurity and low birth weight. An estimated 75% of these preterm and small babies could survive if they had access to cost-effective interventions. 

National Scale-Up of a Comprehensive Program for Improving the Care of Premature and Small Newborns in the Philippines Through the Introduction of a National Health Insurance Benefit Package
University College London London, United Kingdom

This project exploits the advanced yet affordable smartphone technology to screen newborns in Ghana for severe jaundice, a condition which affects 18% of newborns worldwide and is a significant avoidable cause of death and disability. The smartphone app measures bilirubin levels based on sclera colour, which is a very different approach from current non-invasive techniques based on skin colour, e.g., transcutaneous bilirubinometers (TcB) and research skin apps.

Smart Sclera Screening of Jaundiced Newborns in Ghana
University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, Indiana, USA

Every year, more than 100 million women receive injectable oxytocin to prevent postpartum hemorrhage, which kills 94,000 women each year. But there are persistent problems with the quality of oxytocin in developing countries. One study estimates that a quarter of the women in Africa who receive injectable oxytocin get a shot that does not deliver the correct amount of the drug.

Development of a Paper Test Card for Testing Injectable Oxytocin in Low Resource Settings
Violet Health, Inc. New York, New York, USA

This innovation addresses iron deficiency anemia, a leading global cause of maternal/perinatal mortality, preterm births, low birth weight, and child cognitive and motor skills impairment. In India, 60% of pregnant women are anemic. Worldwide, over 40% of pregnant women are anemic. A key challenge in low resource settings is the vast majority of pregnant women who have iron pills don’t take them, greatly increasing poor birth outcomes. In India, only 35% of women who have access to iron pills take them during pregnancy.

Validating the Effectiveness of a Culturally Appropriate Iron Supplement in Increasing Adherence and Reducing Iron Deficiency Anemia in Pregnant Women and Associated Maternal and Perinatal Mortality/Morbidity
Voices of Africa Trust Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Women and newborns are dying every day in Tanzania from preventable reasons that, with some creativity, can be brought to an end [1]. One of the key causes of  lack of proper antenatal care at the village level is a lack of tools. This project will create a new model for a disruptive information, supply, and logistical supply chain in the healthcare system [2].

Out of Stock? Out of Time? Order, Print, and Deliver Now
William Marsh Rice University Houston, Texas, USA

Neonatal hypothermia is a pervasive global challenge; as many as 85% of infants born in hospitals in low-resource settings are too cold. Although temperature monitoring is critical for neonatal care, there is no broad consensus on the best method to use in these settings. This project will develop and evaluate neonatal temperature monitoring (NTM): a simple, affordable and rugged tool to continuously monitor and display neonatal temperature, providing a rapid way to alert clinical staff and mothers to periods of hypo- or hyperthermia.

Neonatal Temperature Monitoring for Neonatal Wards in Sub-Saharan Africa
William Marsh Rice University Houston, Texas, USA

Newborns are at increased risk of jaundice when excess bilirubin builds up in blood. Lack of treatment leads to neurological impairment and death. Fortunately, jaundice is easily treated with blue light, and phototherapy systems have been developed for low-resource settings; however, there are no appropriate solutions to diagnose and monitor bilirubin in these settings. This project’s approach is BiliSpec, which measures bilirubin concentration in a drop of blood. Early clinical studies show BiliSpec is on track to meet CLIA standards.

Validation of a Low-Cost, Point-of-Care Bilirubin Measurement to Diagnose Neonatal Jaundice and Monitor Phototherapy in Hospitals in Sub-Saharan Africa
William Marsh Rice University Houston, Texas, USA

Apnea of prematurity (AOP), a condition in which babies suddenly stop breathing, occurs in >50% of premature infants. In high-resource settings, infants are continuously monitored and staff are immediately alerted to intervene when apnea occurs. With monitoring and treatment, AOP often resolves on its own. In low-resource settings, continuous monitoring is not available and apnea is often undetected, contributing to high rates of mortality and morbidity.  

Validating the Performance of a Low-Cost Method to Detect and Correct Episodes of Apnea of Prematurity in Hospitals in Malawi