3 Award-Winning Innovations to Save Children’s Lives

By Jenny Noonan

April 5, 2016

Helping mothers and newborns during their most vulnerable hours is a challenge in many parts of the world. That’s why USAID, the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and others launched Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development, a campaign to find the tools needed to help new mothers and newborns.

The campaign recently announced three award nominees to help accelerate the growth of innovative solutions in hard-to-reach regions of the world: two awards of $2 million each were given to bring their innovative ideas to mass production, and one $250,000 grant to support continued development of the innovation.

Award nominees and winners include:

  • Pratt Pouch: This ketchup-sized packet delivers exactly the correct dosage of anti-retroviral medicines to a newborn to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. This method is much easier for parents to use and more effective for the child receiving the medicine. Submitted by: The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and in Uganda, and Fundación VIHDA in Ecuador
  • All Babies Count: Patient-centered care is at the heart of this program. Improvements in patient satisfaction have been the result of providing health workers with needed supplies, on-site mentorship, and regular monitoring for continuous improvement. A pilot program saw infant death rates drop by 33 percent. Submitted by: Partners in Health (PIH) in Rwanda
  • Operation Karibu: Kenya. A ‘welcome program’ for mothers, OpK (as it’s called) encourages pregnant women to seek medical care before, during, and after the birth of their child. Women who give birth in the clinic are given a set of baby clothes, and emergency transportation to the clinic is made available. Plus, a birth companion of the woman’s choice (partner, sister, mother – whoever they feel most comfortable with) is offered training in how to care for an infant. Mothers and babies are monitored for the first 30 days after the child’s birth.

In addition, the Healthcare Innovation Award, which is a partnership between Save the Children and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), was given in recognition of innovations making a tangible difference to children’s health.

Lisa Bonadonna, head of the GSK-Save the Children partnership, said, “These latest inspiring innovations are …strengthening healthcare systems and improving access to healthcare for mothers and children in some of the most underserved communities. We look forward to seeing them scale up and share their fantastic ideas, as previous winners have already gone on to do.”

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You can find more details about these exciting innovations from Saving Lives at Birth, including the role of technology in creating these solutions: they are doing so much for families around the world – from helping moms in Vietnam remember to get their kids vaccinated, to contributing to reduced child deaths in South Africa.

Lead photo of a baby receiving a vaccine at the Star of the Sea clinic. Photograph by Photo by Neil Brandvold, USAID

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