Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development to the USAID

United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, UK’s Department of International Development (DFID), and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) have joined together to launch the sixth round of Saving Lives at Birth: 

A Grand Challenge for Development. Together, we call for groundbreaking prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in poor, hard-to-reach communities around the time of childbirth. An estimated 2.6 million stillbirths, 2.7 million neonatal deaths and 303,000 maternal deaths occur globally each year, signaling a major gap in interventions specifically around childbirth and the early postnatal period – a time when mothers and babies are most vulnerable and global progress in reducing mortality has been particularly poor. 

This gap in interventions is particularly acute in poor, underserved communities and among women who are disadvantaged. Innovative ideas that can leapfrog conventional approaches to address inequities and inequalities of care are critical in surmounting these gaps. 

If we are to accelerate substantial and sustainable progress in reducing maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths at the community level- and contribute to the goals and targets of Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality and the Every Newborn Action Plan - we need to foster and scale innovative prevention and treatment approaches across three domains:
(1) Science & technology; 
(2) Service delivery; and 
(3) Demand-side innovation that empowers pregnant women, their families, and their communities to practice healthy behaviors and be aware of and access health care during pregnancy, childbirth and the early postnatal period, especially the first two days after birth. 

We are particularly interested in investing in and supporting approaches that integrate the latest behavior change approaches with scientific and/or technological advances and service delivery platforms into radical solutions for widespread impact on maternal and newborn health. We encourage these ideas that integrate scientific / technological, social and business innovation to foster sustainability.

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