Saving Mothers and Babies: The Grand Challenge

By Global Moms Challenge

July 31, 2014

What does a garage mechanic from Argentina, a team of students from North Carolina, and a group of doctors in Kenya have in common?  They are all pushing the boundaries of innovation to save the lives of women and newborns during their most vulnerable hours — from the time of labor to the 48 hours after a baby is born. And they will be in Washington, DC this week for the Saving Lives at Birth DevelopmentXChange – an innovations Marketplace and Forum focused on moms and babies’ health.

Saving Lives at Birth1The danger that women and newborns face during this time is staggering: every two minutes, a woman dies in childbirth, and in sub-Saharan Africa, women are 136 times more likely to die than in developed countries. Significantly lowering this risk requires new and inventive approaches to make lasting progress. Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development seeks out these pioneering ideas that innovate on health science/technology, service delivery, and/or demand.


Saving Lives at Birth2

This year’s 52 finalists have been selected out of hundreds of applicants as the most promising – and groundbreaking – concepts to save mothers and newborns. These innovators are in Washington, DC to present their ideas. They will be joined by current Saving Lives at Birth awardees such as:  Jorge Odon – the Argentine car mechanic who created a device to help deliver babies safelyand Jacaranda Health’s team of doctors and healthcare workers who are providing low-income women with access to quality, innovative care across Kenya; and the Duke University team of students who developed the Pratt Pouch– a fast food ketchup-like packet that can prevent transmission of HIV in the hours after birth.

On August 1, the Marketplace, open to the public, will showcase devices, tools, programs, and ideas. Immediately following the Marketplace, the public is invited to hear from out-of-the-box thinkers and entrepreneurs and learn which innovation was nominated to receive the People’s Choice and other awards.

No matter where you are located in the world, you can join in and participate in the fourth Saving Lives at Birth DevelopmentXChange.

Take Action Challenge

  • Check out all 52 finalists on the Saving Lives at Birth website. Here, you can meet innovators from around the world and in all types of organizations, from non-profits, to universities, faith-based organizations, start-up companies, and more. Read about all their innovations and how they plan to mark themselves as game changers in maternal and newborn health.
  • Keep tabs on the DevelopmentXChange through social media. On Twitter, follow @GCDSavingLives #DevX2014. Keep up-to-date via the Saving Lives at Birth blog, and don’t forget to check the Saving Lives at Birth innovator page following the DevelopmentXChange for new videos on the selected grantees!
  • Join the DevelopmentXChange Marketplace in Washington, DC on August 1 between 9:00 to 12:00 pm. Register here.
  • Check in to the Saving Lives at Birth website on and after August 1 for additional information about the 2014 award nominees and videos from the DevelopmentXChange. To receive automatic updates, sign up for our newsletter.


This post is courtesy of the Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge partners: USAID, the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, and DFID have joined together to launch Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development, to find the tools and approaches to help mothers and newborns during their most vulnerable hours.

Photos: Rice University | Student-designed device aims to help babies breathe; Becton Dickison | Jorge Odon, a mechanic, developed a low-cost device to help women give birth


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