The Grand Challenge: Saving Lives through Collaboration

July 20, 2011

Although I generally don’t like Contests, they do exist, and sometimes participation is important.

Earlier this year a partnership of the Gates Foundation, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, USAID and the World Bank launched a Grand Challenge “To accelerate substantial and sustainable progress against maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths at the community level, [by harnessing] the collective imagination and ingenuity of experts across a broad range of disciplines and expertise.”

A project I have been working with for the past few years, Helping Babies Breathe is a finalist.   One of the aspects of Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) that is particularly compelling  is its collaborative nature.  The HBB Implementation team places a major focus on communication and coordination among all stakeholders and matching existing programs and resources with new ones. Starting as a project of the American Academy of Pediatrics and then as a Global Development Alliance of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the US Agency for International Development (USAID); Laerdal Medical, a manufacturer and distributor of resuscitation devices, the US National Institute of Child and Human Development, and Save the Children, there are now over 10 other civil society organizations, government agencies and corporations involved in supporting the roll-out in over 25 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) countries, as well as health officials in each country.

Although I am partial to Helping Babies Breathe, the Grand Challenge finalists include a number of other excellent projects.  Karen Grepin in her post:   “How to Save a Life – You decide” writes about one she is working with.

The Grand Challenge’s voting procedure allows you to vote for a number of different projects: Grand Challenge Finalists.  Please support Helping Babies Breath and others that also put a priority on collaboration.   By continuing to model and encourage collaboration, hopefully we can move funders more in this direction.