During the European Commission’s Together for the Next Generation conference on Research and Innovation for Maternal and Newborn Health, a prize worth over 2 million euros was launched with the objective of reducing death and illness of mothers and babies around the world. It’s called the Birth Day Prize and is – supported by EU Commission, Gates Foundation and MSD for Mothers .
The value of the prize is a clear message that saving the lives of mothers and new borns is a priority. Although maternal deaths have dropped worldwide by 45% and the child mortality rate by 51% since 1990, there is still work to do.
The Birth Day prize will be awarded to a solution that best demonstrates a reduction in maternal and/or newborn morbidity and mortality and/or stillbirths during facility-based deliveries. The solution will need to be novel, safe and scalable.
It’s certainly a case of ‘watch this space’ with awards to be presented in the fourth quarter of 2016.
In the meantime, here’s a reminder of why a prize like this could make a huge difference to the world:
- Approximately 300 000 women died in 2013 from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth
- Millions of newborns die each year
- Every day more than 7200 babies are stillborn. These deaths are disproportionately concentrated in the developing world:
- 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries, of which three-quarters are due to preventable or treatable conditions such as haemorrhage, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and sepsis
- 98% of the stillbirths occur in low- and middle-income countries
- For every woman who dies of pregnancy-related causes, 20 or 30 others experience acute or chronic illness, often with permanent effects that undermine their normal lives