By Monica Cainer, Manager, Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace and Kimberly Quach, Summer Student, Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace

Why the Innovation Marketplace?
With the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in full swing, innovation is key to developing novel health care solutions that have sustainable and long-term impact.

There is endless potential for innovative projects to save, improve, and transform the lives of millions of women, children, and adolescents around the world. Huge gains can be made toward achieving health outcomes and the Sustainable Development Goals by the smart sourcing and application of innovations.

While there are an increasing number of innovative health care concepts at the early pilot stage, the transition to scale and sustainability of innovations are bottlenecks impeding progress. To tackle this and smooth the scale-up of innovations, the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace was launched in 2015 as a strategic alliance of development innovation organizations (including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, the United States Agency for International Development, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, and UBS Optimus Foundation, or ‘the anchor partners’).

The Innovation Marketplace aims to facilitate 20 investments by 2020, at least 10 of which will be widely available and have significant positive impact on women, children, and adolescents by 2030.

 As of 2017, the Innovation Marketplace has conducted a comparative analysis of 200 innovations sourced from anchor partners, including the global Grand Challenges network.

Using the technical expertise of an external panel, these innovations have been rigorously reviewed to identify the most promising projects. From this group, the Innovation Marketplace has catalyzed deals for six innovations that have strong potential for impact and scale, and has initiated additional brokering discussions with anchor partners, public and private sector investors, and governments.

What type of innovations do we broker?

The Every Second Matters for Mothers and Babies-Uterine Balloon TamponadeTM (ESM-UBT) is one innovation that has passed through the Innovation Marketplace process.

Post-partum hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa, responsible for approximately 25% of all maternal deaths. In most resource-constrained settings, access to high-quality clinical tools to manage post-partum hemorrhage is limited.

The ESM-UBTTM is an innovative device that was developed by a team from the Massachusetts General Hospital to address this issue. The ESM-UBTTM package is comprised of a condom, tied to a Foley catheter, and inflated with clean water through a syringe and one-way valve. The highly cost-effective, easy-to-use and safe package costs less than $3 USD per device and includes a comprehensive three-hour training program that incorporates World Health Organization and International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics standards for post-partum hemorrhage management. This training package allows health care professionals at all levels of expertise to improve their knowledge of post-partum hemorrhage management and develop the confidence to use the device.

To date, the ESM-UBTTM package has been successfully introduced in 12 countries including South Sudan, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, India, Peru, Uganda, Honduras, and Nepal. Over 630 critically ill women with uncontrolled post-partum hemorrhage have been followed, and a 97% survival rate has been documented among these women – most of whom otherwise would have lost their lives.

The ESM-UBTTM team is now looking to scale operations widely within Kenya and other East African markets. Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals focuses on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages; further scaling of ESM-UBTTM will undoubtedly contribute to this goal through its innovative method of addressing post-partum hemorrhage in resource-constrained settings.

What happens next?

At the 70th World Health Assembly, the Innovation Marketplace had the privilege of engaging in discussions with various government ministers and officials from low- and middle-income countries. There was consensus that innovations like the ESM-UBTTM will make a huge difference to women in these countries. However, increased engagement from governments to assist innovators in the uptake and scaling of innovations will be essential to the sustainability of projects going forward.

Over the past two years, the Innovation Marketplace has moved from concept to reality. Moving forward, the Innovation Marketplace will continue to curate potentially high-impact innovations, with the goal of adding an additional 100 innovations to its pipeline by the end of 2017. Further engagement with all partners, including the private sector, private capital, and, most importantly, governments, will be crucial to the scaling of innovations and ultimately to advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ensure that no woman or child is left behind.

This post is part of the “SDG Solutions” series hosted by the United Nations Foundation, Global Daily, and +SocialGood to raise awareness of ways the international community can advance, and is advancing, progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. As the international community prepares to gather at the UN for the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development from July 10-19, this series will share ideas and examples of action. Previous posts in the series can be found here. 

The Every Woman Every Child movement, launched in 2010 and led by the UN Secretary-General, aims to intensify commitment and action by governments, the UN, multilaterals, the private sector, and civil society to keep women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health and wellbeing at the heart of development. As a multi-stakeholder platform to operationalize the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, the movement mobilizes partnerships and coordinated efforts across sectors to ensure that all women, children and adolescents not only survive, but also thrive to help transform the world. Learn more: