22 September 2014

Canada ‘Incubates’ 22 Bold New Ideas

The novel approaches include: 

  • A program for Bangladeshi mothers working in garment factories to express, pasteurize and store breast milk — thereby improving infant nutrition, reducing absenteeism due to child illnesses, and lowering baby formula expense 
  • A clever new hand-pump device design to help struggling newborns take a first breath 
  • A low-cost, portable system for diagnosing child pneumonia in high-altitude Peru 
  • A program to train traditional midwives in the Peruvian Amazon to use smart phones to collect information from pregnant women and to schedule antenatal care delivered by medical river ships 
  • A snack produced from rice bran waste to combat child iron deficiency 
  • Using chicken feathers to make a universally-affordable, effective mosquito net 
  • A technique for safely storing vaccines at room temperature — considered a holy grail of global health — by applying a novel polymer coating 
  • A portable ultrasound imaging device to help medical professionals oversee childbirths in remote areas via cellular telecommunications. 

Seed funding of $112,000 is offered to each of eight projects based in Canada (Edmonton, Hamilton, Toronto and Sudbury) that will be implemented in the developing world, and to 11 2 projects from innovators based in low- and middle-income countries (Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda). Also announced today; the first three award nominees of 22 projects based in Peru that are funded with Peru’s National Council for Science, Technology, & Technological Innovation (CONCYTEC) under a collaboration announced January 6 (http://bit.ly/1wwfEoE). 

The funding announcement comes as world leaders prepare for the annual United Nations General Assembly where, this year, women’s and children’s health will be at the heart of discussions. In September 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched ‘Every Woman, Every Child’ (http://bit.ly/YLDEX5), an unprecedented global movement that aims to save the lives of millions of women and children by 2015. 

Through the “Muskoka Initiative” agreed at the G8 meeting in 2010, Canada assumed a leading role in promoting the health of women and children in developing countries. In May of this year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper convened ‘Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach’, a high-level summit on maternal, newborn and child health, where Canada has committed another $3.5 billion for 2015 – 2020 towards its top development priority: saving the lives of millions of mothers and children. Prime Minister Harper will also be addressing the United Nations General Assembly. 

“Under Canada’s leadership, many more women are surviving pregnancy and childbirth, and millions more children are celebrating their fifth birthday,” said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie. “Canada has led efforts to provide developing countries with proven, inexpensive and reliable approaches, such as improving nutrition and access to immunization, so that the poorest and most vulnerable no longer suffer deaths that are easily prevented.” 

Learn more.