innovation | ethics | impact

Gates Foundation | Digital Health Services for Pregnant Women

| Sectors: Digital health
| Granting entities: Gates Foundation
| Deadline: 13 January 2022
| Type of support: Grants
| Funding/benefits: 500,000 USD
| Applicants: Startups or NGOs with solutions developed and/or actively supported in sub-Saharan Africa
| Locations: Sub-Saharan Africa

Synopsis: The foundation seeks patient-facing digital health services for pregnant women that have been developed and are actively being provided in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We will consider proposals for services that can support or contribute to the foundation’s vision on Antenatal Risk Stratification (ARS) via digital applications. Types of services considered for support include:

  • Engagement: Services that increase the participation of pregnant women in digital healthcare. (E.g., a platform to provide group antenatal care or a telemedicine platform that allows pregnant women to send medical questions to doctors by text)
  • Adoption of existing platforms: Services that leverage existing digital systems/platforms to support pregnant women (e.g., contacting patients about care or scheduling using an existing messaging app like WhatsApp)
  • Data collection: Services that collect data from pregnant women that could support clinical care. (E.g., a mobile app that allows pregnant women to track their pregnancy through metrics such as weight and fetal movement)
  • Algorithm development: Services that use data from pregnant women to assess or make predictions about their health (e.g., a web-based tool where pregnant women can input information to receive an automatic assessment on whether or not they should see a doctor)

The foundation seeks projects that will help us develop and deliver an ARS solution in sub-Saharan Africa. Proposals should endeavor to build upon existing solutions to help support ARS. Potential options include (but are not limited to):

  • Researching implementation methods for a solution (e.g., conducting market research for an existing app that supports one or more of the objectives outlined above)
  • Expanding the scope of a solution (e.g., translating a web-based app to mobile platforms to increase engagement)
  • Adding features/functionality to a solution (e.g., adding cloud-based data collection to a mobile app)
  • Improving the delivery of a solution (e.g., integrating a mobile app into an existing clinical health system)

Funding level: up to USD $500,000 for each project, with a grant term of 6 to 24 months depending on the scope of the project.

The foundation will consider solutions that are:

  • Developed and/or actively supported in sub-Saharan Africa (note: development/active support does not include cases when groups outside of SSA are testing their solutions on users in SSA)
  • Delivered in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Providing pregnancy-related services
  • Offered directly to pregnant women (i.e., patient-facing)
  • Currently available for use and interested in expansion
  • Serving a substantial and active user base in sub-Saharan Africa (e.g., more than ~100 users)
  • Digitally integrated (i.e., have a strong, technical component)  
  • Clearly linked to the development and implementation of ARS
  • Preference for solutions that reach women in both rural and urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa.

Link to application here.

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