Have an idea to stop ma­ter­nal deaths? Ap­ply for Sh10m grant

Sh700 mil­lion Grand Chal­lenges Africa Grant gives in­no­va­tors chance to make pro­pos­als. Sug­ges­tions should have po­ten­tial for enor­mous im­pact in Africa

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics | Ministries & Judiciary - JOHN MUCHANGI @jo­munji

Kenyans with ideas to re­duce ma­ter­nal and child deaths can ac­cess a Sh700 mil­lion fund for Africa.

The Grand Chal­lenges Africa Grant will give up to Sh10 mil­lion seed grants for two years.

In­no­va­tions which show prom­ise for scal­ing up will be el­i­gi­ble to ap­ply for ad­di­tional fund­ing of up to Sh100 mil­lion. Up to 40 projects will be funded over the next five years that the scheme will run, Tom Kar­iuki, head of the Nairobi-based Nepad Agency’s Al­liance for Ac­cel­er­at­ing Ex­cel­lence in Sci­ence in Africa, said.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion runs the pro­gramme to­gether with the African Academy of Sciences.

The grant has been given by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion.

“We are seek­ing bold new ideas with po­ten­tial for enor­mous im­pact in Africa, so moth­ers and chil­dren not only sur­vive, but thrive,” Kar­iuki said. He said the first call for pro­pos­als that opened last week will seek to help Africa meet the SDG Three tar­get for ma­ter­nal, new­born and child health.

The fund is open to any in­no­va­tor liv­ing in Africa with any level of ex­pe­ri­ence, work­ing in any dis­ci­pline in col­leges, uni­ver­si­ties, gov­ern­ment lab­o­ra­to­ries, re­search in­sti­tu­tions, non-gov­ern­men­tal and non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Judges will be look­ing for new tech­nolo­gies that iden­tify causes of poor out­comes in preg­nancy, birth and in the first month of life.

Other suc­cess­ful in­no­va­tors would need to come up with pre­ci­sion medicine ap­proaches and tech­niques to iden­tify mi­crobes and other ex­po­sures in Africa that may in­crease sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases, in­clud­ing can­cer and heart dis­eases in moth­ers and chil­dren un­der five years of age.

Cre­ative ap­proaches to in­crease in­vest­ment in African re­search will also be funded.

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