Innovation and Impact Newsletter - July 2021

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Innovation and Impact E-newsletter from the Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact. USAID Global Health

July 2021



Innovator Bempu reaching newborns in new countries, with new effectiveness data and new products

Top image: TempWatch Newborn Hypothermia Monitor  |  Bottom image: Model of ApneBoot

Bempu, a Saving Lives at Birth (SL@B) Grand Challenge winner for its TempWatch hypothermia monitoring bracelet for newborns in India, has made enormous strides in recent months. They recently expanded to additional countries, including Ghana, Mongolia, Nigeria, and Peru and Turkey. Not only are they reaching more communities in need, Bempu can also share new data on TempWatch’s effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. An independent evaluation of TempWatch by the US CDC recently demonstrated that users had fewer cases of hypothermia, stronger bonding with their infants, and a fuller understanding of hypothermia and skin-to-skin care. A separate evaluation by the Duke Global Health Institute found TempWatch to be very cost-effective in India where the estimated $25 per year of life saved is only 1.2% of India’s GDP per capita.

The Bempu team has also launched a reusable version of TempWatch called the TempWatch 10X and a new product, ApneBoot, to detect when babies stop breathing and auto-stimulate their foot to restart breathing well before any injury can occur. CII congratulates Bempu on all of these achievements!


Digital Health Icon Market Shaping

DFC partnership to expand vaccine manufacturing in Senegal

The Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has approved a $3.3MM technical assistance grant to expand Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing in Africa. The DFC is funding the Senegalese Fondation Institut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Investment Bank (EIB), German KFW and GIZ, and French Proparco and AFD. Africa currently manufactures only one percent of the vaccines it consumes, and this effort would contribute to boosting that figure. CII has been working closely with DFC to leverage USAID’s stakeholder relationships and expertise to support the effective delivery and distribution of the vaccines across West Africa.

Photo of a health care worker holding a COVID vaccine

Innovation Icon Innovation

Financing for MOMs investee LifeBank launches oxygen smart plant in Nigeria

LifeBank, the first investee of the $50M Financing for MOMs partnership (between USAID’s CII and MCHN teams, Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Merck for Mothers, and Credit Suisse) uses AI and blockchain technology as well as bikes, boats, and drones to deliver critical health supplies. In the last year, LifeBank expanded to deliver oxygen as well as blood and extended its operations from Nigeria to Kenya. LifeBank recently launched their first oxygen plant, AirCo, in Nasarawa State in Nigeria as a partnership with the Oxygen Hub and the Nasarawa State Government. AirCo is a smart plant that can produce 700 m3 of oxygen every day and uses a predictive production system to improve precision.

AirCo oxygen plant opened July 14 in Nasarawa State

Digital Health Icon Market Shaping

USAID’s Tanzania Mission applies blended finance to support faith-based hospitals

As a framework and catalytic tool, the Blended Finance Roadmap spurred broad discussions with multiple USAID Missions and external stakeholders about the role that blended finance can play in accelerating global health impact. USAID/Tanzania, with support from CII, is working with the INVEST project to apply the Blended Finance Roadmap to address working capital gaps and improve the financial sustainability of faith-based hospitals through a revolving fund vehicle. INVEST published a blog feature on USAID’s work to help these hospitals deliver on their health care mission.

A ward at Tosamaganga Hospital in Tanzania


Photo of Ratul Narain, 'Chief Baby' and Founder, Bempu Health

Ratul Narain, “Chief Baby” and Founder, Bempu Health

Ratul is the founder of BEMPU Health. Bempu develops innovative products that help newborns survive. Their flagship product, TempWatch, is a tiny bracelet that monitors a baby’s temperature 24/7 for the first month of life, alerting the parent if their baby is dangerously cold so they can warm her before any injury or death occurs.

Most of Bempu’s scaling products were funded at prototype stage by USAID and the Saving Lives at Birth partnership. Bempu has recently been featured in CII’s Global Health Innovation Index. CII has previously worked with Bempu on the ground in India, setting up an advisor network with them, and connecting them with newborn stakeholders, including UNICEF, who then became one of Bempu’s largest customers.

Read Ratul’s full interview here [PDF, 235K]


USAID's Center for Innovation and Impact (CII) takes a business-minded approach to fast-tracking the development, introduction and scale-up of health interventions that address the world's most important health challenges. CII invests seed capital in the most promising ideas and novel approaches, using forward-looking business practices to cut the time it takes to transform discoveries in the lab to impact on the ground.

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Last updated: August 02, 2021

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