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A Grand Challenges Africa Opportunity: Funding to improve maternal and child health in Africa

A Grand Challenges Africa Opportunity: Funding to improve maternal and child health in Africa

Nairobi, Kenya I 20 November 2019I The African Academy of Sciences (AAS), the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are today announcing $USD 2 Million in funding for innovative research aimed at improving maternal, neonatal and child health (MNCH) in Africa.

This new funding operationalises a partnership established by the three parties in 2018 to provide coordinated global action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health.

Globally, there is an ongoing burden of 5.4 million MNCH-related deaths annually, that includes neonatal deaths (2.5 million), stillbirths (2.6 million), and maternal deaths (0.3 million).  Africa, with only 17% of the world’s population, carries nearly half of this burden with 2.3 million deaths per year.

This challenge focuses on the top priorities for MNCH in Africa identified through the 2019 MNCH research prioritisation exercise conducted by the AAS. The exercise used the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI) process, which uses the principles of wisdom of the crowds to systematically collect and transparently score research options against important criteria in a particular field. In a three-stage democratic process lasting 7 months, aggregated thoughts from MNCH experts working in Africa and showed that there is a need to concentrate on four areas of importance in MNCH that remain a grand challenge for Africa, detailed below.

Innovators working in Africa-based, domestic organisations, international organisations, government agencies, research and academic institutions will be provided up to $100,000 for two years to develop and implement health innovations to address these four areas of importance:

  1. better health during pregnancy
  2. better care at birth
  3. better post-birth care for women and their newborns
  4. better hospital care of sick newborns.

The call seeks to contribute to efforts to meet the United Nations SDGs’ targets of 12 or fewer neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births and to reduce maternal mortality by funding projects that propose innovation in:

  • Tools for improved implementation: Innovative approaches or new ways to implement already available interventions
  • Measurement tools: Pilot tests of new measurement tools, such as those based on a new technology or new biomarkers to enable the timely diagnosis, monitoring or management of maternal or foetal conditions
  • Analytical tools: Pilot tests of new analytical tools that use existing biorepositories or existing health and development databases for retrospective analysis.

 

Proposals will be invited from African citizens and residents in African organisations. Prioritisation of proposals will include factors such as collaborative and multidisciplinary approaches, and novel approaches to incorporation of diverse stakeholder perspectives. Funded projects with promising results will have the opportunity to apply for additional funding to build on initial success.

Further information about this funding opportunity to improve maternal, neonatal and child health in Africa is outlined below

  • The call for proposals is accessible via AAS Grants management portal
  • Applications must be submitted by 14 January 2020 at 1700 hrs EAT through The AAS Ishango Online System accessed through the call link above
  • Please contact GCAfrica@aasciences.africa for any enquiries regarding the call

 

NOTES TO THE EDITOR

Background

African countries have made progress across a range of issues, but recognising that time and resources are limited, it is essential to prioritise and focus on the areas that offer the greatest opportunity for impact towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the African Union Agenda 2063. A new initiative coordinated by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) has launched seeking scientific input from the  scientific leaders across the African continent to review the scientific priorities set by the SDGs, African Union Agenda 2063, and national development plans, and help build consensus around which 10-15 priorities will give African countries the greatest return on investment. Ultimately, the aim is to direct resources toward discovering, developing and delivering game-changing interventions in priority areas that will help most people lead better lives, sooner.  

The first of this exercise is aligning this MNCH call for innovations towards a well-organised MNCH research priority setting exercise done by the African Academy of Sciences supported by the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Other research priority setting work from the African Academy of Sciences in Data, Genomics and the Future of Precision Medicine in Africa   and Research Prioritisation for Climate change is also ongoing. Any groups or scientific communities interested in participating in any of the research priority setting exercises run the AAS are welcome to get in touch and express interest in the process.

About The African Academy of Sciences
The African Academy of Sciences (The AAS) is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit pan African organisation. The AAS’s vision is to see transformed lives on the African continent through science. Our tripartite mandate is recognising excellence through The AAS’ highly prestigious fellowship and award schemes, providing advisory and think tank functions for shaping Africa’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) strategies and policies and implementing key Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) programmes addressing Africa’s developmental challenges through the agenda-setting and funding platform Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA). AESA is an initiative of The AAS and the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD.

Join us on Facebook.com/AASciences and Twitter @AASciences and learn more at www.aasciences.ac.africa


About Grand Challenges Africa
Grand Challenges Africa is a programme of The AAS that seeks to promote Africa-led scientific innovations to help countries better achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by awarding seed and scale-up grants to the continent’s most impressive solutions.  GC Africa is one of about 15 programmes being implemented through AESA.

About the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) drives the promotion of education, science and research as foundations of the future in a changing world. Education provides the basis for leading an autonomous, responsible and participatory life within industry and society. Research helps us to discover the new and improve on the known. Thanks to excellent research we are finding solutions to global problems and devising strategies for sustainable growth.


About Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Dr Susan Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H Gates, Sr, under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet.

 

Media contacts

Deborah-Fay Ndlovu
The African Academy of Sciences
Email:  d.ndlovu@aasciences.africa      Tel:  +254 727 660 760

 

Further information about this funding opportunity to improve maternal, neonatal and child health in Africa is outlined below

  • The call for proposals is accessible via AAS Grants management portal
  • Applications must be submitted by 14 January 2020 at 1700 hrs EAT through The AAS Ishango Online System accessed through the call link above
  • Please contact GCAfrica@aasciences.ac.africa for any enquiries regarding the call.

Media contacts

Shylee Mbuchucha
The African Academy of Sciences
Email:  s.mbuchucha@aasciences.africa  
Tel:  +254 725 290 145