Innovation and Impact Newsletter - June 2021

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

June 2021



Project Last Mile Partnership Pivots to COVID-19

Collage of three photos. Project Last Mile Partnership.

CII and the Office of HIV/AIDs (OHA) recently announced that USAID’s role in the Project Last Mile (PLM) partnership has been extended until 2026. PLM is a pioneering public-private partnership between USAID, The Coca-Cola Company and its Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Global Fund, and PEPFAR that leverages the private sector expertise and business intelligence of the Coca-Cola system to improve access to life-saving medicines through supply chain and strategic marketing support throughout the African continent. PLM collaborates with regional Coca-Cola bottlers and suppliers to strengthen public health systems capacity by sharing the private sector expertise and network of the Coca-Cola System with Ministries of Health and partners through a co-creation process.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, PLM has pivoted to support Ministries of Health and partners with COVID-19 related programming. Support includes operational and strategic planning for vaccine roll-out, including route-to-market design for storage and transportation of vaccines for effective and efficient distribution; design and execution of preventive maintenance and repair models for cold chain; assessing the feasibility of leveraging the Coca-Cola System’s liquid CO2 for dry ice production and support of vaccines requiring ultra-cold chain; and, applying strategic marketing targeted at vaccine information. To date, PLM partners have supported work in Eswatini, Ghana, Lesotho, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.


Digital Health Icon Digital Health

HBR Highlights how LMICs are Innovating to Combat COVID

CII’s Senior Digital Health Advisor Merrick Schaefer co-authored an article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) titled How Low and Middle-Income Countries Are Innovating to Combat Covid. Schaefer and his co-authors Ben Ramalingam, Benjamin Kumpf, and Rahul Malhotra, discuss various approaches and lessons learned, including ensuring that solutions are sensitive to social and cultural dynamics, and discovering novelty through permutations, substitutions, and combinations. The article showcases examples of innovations that originated in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), including Digital Health ones that USAID helped support, such as the enterprise approach the USAID mission in Ethiopia has taken across its supply chain and surveillance systems.

Worker makes portable AgVa ventilators during the lockdown for the COVID response in Noida, India. Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Innovation Icon Innovation

Innovator Gradian Announces New Partnership in Nepal

Gradian Health Systems, a Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge winner, formed a new partnership with Nepal's National Innovation Center (NIC) and the America Nepal Medical Foundation (ANMF). Gradian produces both the Universal Anesthesia Machine (UAM) and the Comprehensive Care Ventilator (CCV), both of which can operate without reliable access to Oxygen and/or electricity. The new partnership will distribute 50 CCVs, training, and biomedical support to strengthen critical care services in nine hospitals, including Bir Hospital and Civil Hospital in Kathmandu. More details here.

A healthcare worker calibrates medical equipment

Innovation Icon Innovation

Innovator World Mosquito Program shown to reduce dengue by 77%

World Mosquito Program (WMP), a winner of the Zika Grand Challenge, just published an article in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) demonstrating very promising results of a randomized control trial that drastically reduced dengue transmission. WMP is an international not-for-profit initiative that uses mosquitos infected with Wolbachia, a common bacteria, to block disease transmission by Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, which carry dengue, Zika, Chikungunya, and yellow fever. The NEJM article showed that the release of Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes in selected neighborhoods of the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta reduced dengue cases by 77% and dengue-related hospitalizations by 86%. Wolbachia also proved effective against all four dengue serotypes.

Innovator World Mosquito Program shown to reduce dengue by 77%

broadcast bars CII NEWS

Harvard Business Review
How Low and Middle-Income Countries Are Innovating to Combat Covid
June 9, 2021

'Miraculous' mosquito hack cuts dengue by 77%
June 10, 2021

South Africa: Partnering for the Long Term Means Quick Action on COVID-19
June 24, 2021


book icon What We're Reading

Rockwool Foundation:
Building Better Systems: A Green Paper on System Innovation

International Monetary Fund
Miles To Go: Emerging markets must balance overcoming the pandemic, returning to more normal policies, and rebuilding their economies

Racism, Power and Truth: Experiences of people of colour in development

Think Global Health
Preventing Pandemics and Ending Malaria Demand New Investments in Community Health


book icon Funding/Recognition Opportunities

Blended Finance for Maternal, Child and Newborn Health in Bangladesh
Request for Proposals

Fund for Innovation in Development
Application Form

FT and IFC Transformational
Application Form



Photo of Dr. Data Santorino, Senior Lecturer Mbarara University of Science and Technology

Dr. Data Santorino, Senior Lecturer Mbarara University of Science and Technology

At Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), Data works as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, the Director of CAMTech Uganda, and provides leadership at the MUST Medical Simulation Center. Data is the founding director of the Center for Innovation and Technology Transfer of MUST. MUST is the Africa home for the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech).

Data’s team has closely worked with the USAID Center for Innovation and Impact (CII) in the development, testing and scale planning for the Augmented Infant Resuscitator (AIR). The AIR device is a universal add-on device to existing resuscitation devices that provides instant feedback on quality of newborn ventilation.

Read Dr. Santorino's full interview here [PDF, 489K]


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.

Learn more

Last updated: June 28, 2021

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