The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently opened Round 5 of their “Grand Challenges Explorations” grant program which offers researchers the chance to win $100,000 in grants to jumpstart unconventional projects that could transform health in developing counties.
In the wealthiest parts of the world, there have been improvements in health outcomes especially with pregnancies. This has occurred since the medical community in developed parts of the world has the ability to diagnose medical complications early, prevent some of the most severe consequences resulting from poor care, and then provide appropriate medical care.
However, these results have not been found in the poorest countries where most of the world’s 500,000 maternal deaths, 3.2 stillbirths, and 4 million neonatal deaths occur. Specifically sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have the highest maternal fetal and neonatal mortality rates and the lowest use of hospitals for deliveries for newborn care.
To help this situation, Round 5 of the Grand Challenges program is seeking novel and innovative technologies to reduce maternal, fetal, or neonatal mortality and morbidity in communities or in primary clinics.
Some of the Topics for Round 5 include developing:
• Low cost cell phone based applications for priority global health conditions
• Cell phone use to use for diagnostic applications and patient case management
• Technologies that can be used in a setting with limited electricity, with minimum maintenance, requires minimal training, and are relatively inexpensive to obtain and maintain
• Products that favor early detection and prevention as opposed to treating complications in the later stages of pregnancy
• Technologies that enable self-care at home by women during pregnancy
• Technologies that come with a solid business plan to drive market penetration in poor countries
• Technologies that can be translated quickly into approved products to reduce the total cost of care
• Ways to protect against infectious disease
• New technologies to use for contraception
Proposals are being accepted through May 19, 2010. The grant awards from Round 4 will be announced in May 2010. For more information, go to www.grandchallenges.org/explorations.