The United States Agency for International Development has announced the launch of a five-year, $50 million public-private partnership to support innovative prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in rural, low-resource settings.
The Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development initiative aims to invest in groundbreaking and sustainable projects that reduce the number of newborn and maternal deaths in the hardest to reach areas of the world. Working in partnership with the government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, and the World Bank, USAID expects to award nearly $14 million in grants during the program's initial funding cycle.
According to USAID, a pregnant African woman is 135 times more likely to die during childbirth than some of her Western counterparts. "Healthy mothers and newborns are the foundation of healthy and prosperous societies," said Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates. "We must partner to develop new technologies and seek new ways of delivering solutions to women and children who need them most. This initiative will speed up progress we're already making — and will lead to new kinds of progress that we have yet to conceive."