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Examining USAID’s ‘Saving Lives At Birth’ Award Finalists

In an Atlantic editorial, global health editor Olga Khazan examines USAID’s maternal and child health efforts abroad, noting the agency’s announcement of the award finalists for its “Saving Lives at Birth” initiative on Wednesday. “The agency has been working on maternal health since 1989, but now, USAID has partnered with foundations and the U.K. and Norway governments, among others, for a competition called ‘Saving Lives at Birth,’ which aims to find cheap, effective answers to maternal and child health quandaries in developing countries,” she writes, noting, “More than 1,500 people submitted proposals, but only 22 were awarded grants of either $250,000 or $2 million after a massive science-fair style event yesterday. USAID’s contribution will be $10 million over the five years of the program.” She highlights some of the competitors and discusses what “USAID and its partners look for in competition winners to reduce the odds that the inventions will flop” (8/1).