03 June 2016

Philips and Grand Challenges Canada sign agreement to address pneumonia deaths

Philips and Grand Challenges Canada have signed a repayable grant agreement to scale the manufacturing and distribution of the Philips Children’s Respiration Monitor (also known as ChARM) to make it affordable and accessible for community based health workers in low-resource settings throughout the world.

According to Philips, ChARM has the potential to assist community health workers in establishing a more accurate measurement of a sick child’s breathing rate to help improve the diagnosis of pneumonia and potentially prevent some of the 922,000 childhood deaths caused by pneumonia each year.

Pneumonia remains the leading infectious cause of death among children under-five, killing nearly 2,500 children a day. With most victims under two years of age, the vast majority of deaths occurs in low-resource settings in developing countries, where treatment is not readily available for many children. UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) have made pneumonia a focus area in efforts to reduce child mortality.

“As a leading health technology company, Philips’ vision is to improve people’s lives through meaningful innovation”, said Dr. Maarten van Herpen, Head of the Philips Africa Innovation Hub. “Equitable innovation strategies can help drive sustainable solutions that bridge the divide between the privileged and lesser privileged sections of society, to improve the quality of life for all. Thanks to collaborations and co-investments like the one we have signed with Grand Challenges Canada, companies such as Philips can scale innovations that reach an underserved population and thereby integrate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 – ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, into their core business strategies.“

The development of ChARM is part of the commitment made in Philips’ pledge to the Every Woman Every Child movement. In this pledge, Philips aims to develop and deploy innovations that enable access and improve quality of care for mothers and their children in low‐resource settings. The promotion and scaling of such innovations is important to accelerate the implementation of the UN Global Strategy for Women’s Children’s and Adolescents’ Health in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Grand Challenges Canada is collaborating with Philips to invest in ChARM in response to the global call for innovation to prevent and treat pneumonia, a leading cause of death among children under five. The CA$602,000 repayable grant, matched by Philips, will finance the market launch of ChARM and support the development of the next generation of the device which is planned to include pulse oximetry. The agreement also aims to ensure global access in low- and middle-income countries.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Peter A. Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada said: “Pneumonia is a killer of children especially in the developing world. ChARM responds to a crucial need to reduce deaths from childhood pneumonia. By collaborating with a large company such as Philips, we can help innovations to reach millions.”