November 29, 2017    Follow us on Twitter   View our videos on YouTube
Chlorhexidine Successfully Reduces
Neonatal Mortality In Nepal
A newborn receives umbilical cord care with Chlorhexidine. Photo: Healthy Newborn Network 
A new report in Health Affairs details efforts in Nepal to mobilize the use of chlorhexidine, a disinfectant used on umbilical cord stumps in newborns to reduce the risk of infection. After a randomized trial showed promise for the treatment between 2002-2005, the Government of Nepal, in collaboration with various partners, worked to scale chlorhexidine nationally. This success story serves as a model for partnerships between private sector, government, technical groups and aid agencies.

The article also highlights how Saving Lives at Birth played a critical role in funding and supporting chlorhexidine's path to scale. SL@B Innovator JSI Research & Training Institute Inc helped lead the the national scale-up of the antiseptic chlorhexidine in Nepal.

Four Innovative Ideas Up for
$100 Million MacArthur Foundation Award
Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Director Rice 360 Institute for Global Health, explains her approach to the creation of  affordable technologies. Photo: Rice University video.
The MacArthur Foundation has announced the top four finalists in its 100&Change competition (a single winner will be decided after each competitor shares their fully-realized vision this December). Offering "$100 million to whatever group could come up with the best solution to improve humanity," the competition was met with over 1,900 proposals allowing applicants to define in their own terms what the most pressing issues in the world are and how to address them. In addition to selecting a winner, the Foundation has created its own database and map for the top 200 scoring proposals, a trove of potentially life changing concepts for would-be collaborators and investors. 

Finalists include Catholic Relief Services, HarvestPlus, Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee partnership, and The Rice 360 Institute for Global Health. The Rice 360 Institute for Global Health, which has developed several Saving Lives at Birth supported innovations,  has proposed a creative approach to optimize a package of rugged, affordable technologies, which includes other SL@B-supported technologies, for quality, comprehensive newborn care in low-resource settings.
Click here to see the Rice University 100&Change finalist video. 
Pay-for-success Financing Models Show Promise    
Abdul Latif, is a patient at the ICRC's orthopedic center in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan. ICRC introduced an innovative form of public-private partnership in September 2017 to finance the construction and operation of three new physical rehabilitation centers. Photo: Thomas Glass for ICRC

"Pay-for-success" bonds, which essentially are investments contingent upon social impact, could be the next phase of innovative financing solutions to  address global issues such as homelessness, maternal and child mortality and recidivism.

Some 70 such "social impact bonds" have been launched globally to address intractable social problems since 2010, the year a pilot for such programs was introduced in the United Kingdom. According to the author, this new model of investment, "...Could be catalytic in bringing contingent financing solutions into the mainstream in ways comparable to the development of the climate bond market, which issued $55.8 billion in the first half of 2017, just a decade after it launched."

100,000 Global Baby Deaths Preventable with Strep Vaccine     
Group B streptococcus is recognized as a cause of septicaemia and meningitis in newborns, with potentially deadly effects. Photo: Brooke Pennington/Getty Images

A groundbreaking report published over the course of 11 papers in the journal  Clinical Infectious Diseases has shown causation between group B streptococcus (GBS) and infant death. The report focuses specifically on a link between the  410,000 cases of disease every year and 147,000 stillbirths and infant deaths. One in five pregnant women carries the bacteria, which can cause meningitis and also life-threatening septicaemia-blood poisoning-in both mother and baby.

Until recently, there has been little focus on how group B streptococcus may relate to stillbirths, which are underinvestigated even in affluent countries due in large part to stigma. Experts have called for more work to be performed in the development of a vaccine, which could potentially prevent thousands of stillbirths and deaths worldwide.

Spotlights + Opportunities
Bempu ---  One of TIME's Best Inventions
Every year TIME magazine releases a list of the Top 25 Inventions from hundreds of inventions around the world. In the past, the list has featured everything from the floating lightbulb to the desktop DNA lab. This year, Saving Lives at Birth innovator Bempu Health made the list! The Bempu Hypothermia Alert Device is a newborn
Photo illustration
by Allison Schaller/TIME
temperature-monitoring wristband that intuitively alerts caregivers if their newborn is hypothermic,enabling intervention well before complications or death can occur. With support from Saving Lives at Birth, the device has helped an estimated 10,000 newborns. In Round 7, Bempu was nominated for transition-to-scale award to scale distribution of the device throughout India and abroad to achieve greater impact on saving newborn lives. 

Click here to see the Bempu bracelet featured in TIME as one of the Top 25 Inventions of 2017.
World AIDS Day
December 1st marks International World AIDS Day. First recognized in 1988, World AIDS Day aims to raise awareness of the continuing nature of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, which has claimed
Photo: EGPAF/James Pursey
the lives of over 35 million people worldwide since its emergence in 1970. The 2017 campaign, "Let's End It," focuses on sharing, educating and fundraising to end the transmissions of HIV, as well as the stigma surrounding the disease.

According to recent estimates, HIV-positive pregnant women are eight times more likely to die during pregnancy, delivery or the postpartum period than HIV-negative pregnant women.  Furthermore, HIV remains one of the leading causes of death among women of reproductive age in developing countries, with more than half of all HIV-related maternal deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa.

Click here for more information.
SL@B Round 7 Innovator Awards:  
Get to Know the Nominees
SL@B nominated 15 finalists for awards from over 550 applications for the 2017 Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge. For the next several months, the SL@B Grand Challenge Digest will highlight new innovators from our portfolio.

FREO2 Foundation Australia (Bundoora, Australia)

FREO2 Solar is the first ever solar powered oxygen system that functions without the need for batteries or inverters thereby reducing  more than 60% of the capital and recurrent costs. With SL@B Round 7 funding, FREO2 will design, construct, and test this novel solar powered oxygen system, which has the potential to be scaled to health facilities in more than 100 Low- and Middle-Income Countries, and address some of the largest-burden conditions affecting neonates and young infants.

In This Issue