Baltimore, Maryland – Jhpiego, a global health non-profit and Johns Hopkins University affiliate working to prevent the needless deaths of women and families, is among the first recipients of a U.S. innovation award for work in the developing world.
Rajiv Shah, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, released Friday the winners of the agency’s inaugural, competitively bid Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) in New York as part of USAID’s efforts “to increase our investments and engagement in game-changing innovations.”
Jhpiego was awarded $100,000 to continue its work in developing an inexpensive and reliable self-test for early detection of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women. If left undetected, pre-eclampsia can lead to eclampsia, a high blood pressure disorder and the second-leading cause of maternal deaths in the developing world. In the United States, women are tested easily and routinely throughout their pregnancy for pre-eclampsia and eclampsia by a simple urine test costing several dollars. In the developing world, that cost is essentially unaffordable and the equipment necessary for the test is most often unavailable. This test, when perfected, will be “extremely affordable” and easily accessed by women in low-resource settings.
“The technology and its delivery have the potential to reach millions of underserved or unreached pregnant women. This test has the potential to reduce maternal deaths and morbidity. If we can inform women early that they are at risk for this complication, we can likely save their lives,” said Dr. Harshad Sanghvi, Vice President and Medical Director of Jhpiego, who is leading the work on the proteinuria self-test.
The research on a proteinuria self-test pen reflects Jhpiego’s ongoing mission to provide low-cost, innovative health solutions to reduce maternal deaths. Every year, 500,000 women die from pregnancy-related causes, often alone, because they don’t have access to health providers, facilities and preventive and lifesaving treatment.
Jhpiego, in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Center for Bioengineering, Innovation and Design (CBID) will use the award to continue to refine the technology design and engineering of the proteinuria self-test device, and then conduct a pilot study in a rural district of southern Nepal to assess the test’s acceptability and feasibility for use at the community and household levels by community health workers and pregnant women.
“President Obama and Secretary Clinton have called on us to increase our investments and engagement in game-changing innovations,” USAID Administrator Shah said in announcing the Venture Awards. “We seek to work with a variety of old and new partners to create innovative scalable solutions to core development challenges.”
For more information on Jhpiego’s development work, please contact Melody McCoy at 410-537-1829 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jhpiego (pronounced “ja-pie-go”), is an international non-profit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. For 35 years, Jhpiego has empowered front-line health workers by designing and implementing effective, low-cost, hands-on solutions to strengthen the delivery of health care services for women and their families. By putting evidence-based health innovations into everyday practice, Jhpiego works to break down barriers to high-quality health care for the world’s most vulnerable populations. For more information go to www.jhpiego.org.