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$1 Million Challenge Seeks Child Health Solutions

Cholera clinic

Clinic in Haiti treating cholera patients in 2010 (Kendra Helmer, USAID)

15 July 2016. A new challenge seeks technologies and solutions to reduce child mortality and improve the health of children in low-resource regions of the world. The competition, sponsored by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline and advocacy group Save The Children, has a total purse of $1 million and a deadline for submissions of 7 September 2016.

The challenge is conducted by InnoCentive in Waltham, Massachusetts that conducts open-innovation, crowdsourcing competitions for corporate and organization sponsors. Free registration is required to see details of the competition.

GlaxoSmithKline and Save The Children are in the fourth year of their partnership to find innovations in health care that reduce child deaths in developing countries, focusing on mortality of children under the age of 5. The competition is open to organizations in low- and middle-income countries, as defined by the World Bank. Organizations in these countries developing innovative practices or technologies designed to deliver health care to children considered difficult to reach are encouraged to submit proposals, or they can be nominated by other groups or individuals.

Examples of winning entries from previous years — the annual competition began in 2013 — include:

An organization in Vietnam uses smartphones and computers to keep track of vaccine stocks, register pregnant women and newborns, and send text-message reminders to mothers to vaccinate themselves and their children.

A medical college in Malawi invented a device that eases breathing difficulties of children with respiratory disorders. The college is sending trainers to expand use of the device in hospitals in Tanzania, Zambia, and South Africa.

A company in Kenya developed a mobile health management system that improves maternal and child care in that country, providing real-time data on medicines and disease trends, to support health planning decisions for some 500,000 patients.

An organization in Uganda trains health micro-entrepreneurs to go door-to-door distributing products such as fortified foods and solar lights, and educating residents on healthy practices. The group now reaches more than 3 times the number of traveling educators and families served.

InnoCentive calls the competition an electronic request-for-partners challenge that requires a proposal explaining materials or expertise to be provided, in this case technologies or solutions to improve child health in low-resource regions of the world. Participants in the challenge are asked not to provide confidential information in their proposals. Sponsors and participants will negotiate scope of work and other contract terms separately, and while transfers of intellectual property are not required, these arrangements are usually included in the contract.

GlaxoSmithKline and Save The Children expect to award up to $400,000 for the most innovative and effective solutions. The deadline for submissions is 7 September 2016.

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