Innovation and Impact Newsletter - October 2021

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USAID: From the American People
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Innovation and Impact E-newsletter from the Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact. USAID Global Health

October 2021



President Biden recommits to oxygen efforts at COVID Summit

President Biden delivers remarks at Global COVID-19 Summit | Photo courtesy of The White Hous

USAID oxygen tanks

Last month, President Biden convened partners for the Global COVID-19 Summit: Ending the Pandemic and Building Back Better, a virtual summit on the margins of the UN General Assembly. Included in his agenda to conquer COVID-19 was “Save Lives Now,” which will work to “solve the oxygen crisis and [make] tests, therapeutics, and personal protective equipment (PPE) widely available.” In her summit remarks, USAID Administrator Samantha Power described increasing local access to oxygen in low- and middle-income countries as “perhaps the most important, life-saving single step we can take” besides increasing access to vaccines.

To achieve goals for increasing access to oxygen, USAID plans to provide $50 million to expand access, with a focus on bulk liquid oxygen. The agency will work to leverage investments by building a coalition with governments, foundations, NGOs, and private sector partners to coordinate global investment in oxygen access.

We are proud of the work CII’s Lead Market Access Advisor Nikki Tyler has done, alongside our colleagues throughout the agency, to ensure that more people around the world have access to oxygen!


Innovation Icon Innovation

Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace shown to improve lives, effectively raise capital

CII has been a founding partner/advisor for the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace (EWEC-IM), which recently completed its five year project duration. Over the course of the past five years, more than 29 companies and organizations supported by the platform have mobilized capital as a direct or indirect result of the activities of the EWEC-IM. Those portfolio companies successfully mobilized $46M in grants, equity, and debt financing. The initial data has shown that the portfolio companies reached over 24M beneficiaries, resulting in more than 18,000 lives saved and 625,000 lives improved over the course of the project’s duration.

A EWEC-IM company and Saving Lives at Birth innovator, Gradian Systems, at work

Digital Health Icon Digital Health

Merrick Schaefer delivered ‘Digital Health: Planning National Systems’ course for MOHs

Senior Advisor for Digital Health, Merrick Schaefer delivered in-depth training on the use of digital technologies to support country-based global health programs. The course, ‘Digital Health: Planning National Health Systems’, was co-developed by Schaefer and he has already delivered it to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) digital health team and over 80 Ministry of Health staff. The course is designed to empower ministry leadership with the technical concepts and planning tools necessary to effectively lead national digital health stakeholders. The curriculum features critical health concepts, existing best practices, and pragmatic methods, all framed according to the national planning cycle that Ministry of Health officials manage.

Merrick Schaefer delivering virtual course for MoH

Market Access icon. Market Access

Project Last Mile partnership with Coca-Cola and others contributing to COVID response

Two articles recently published by USAID and the Evening Standard highlight the work of Project Last Mile (PLM) in contributing to the COVID response. In South Africa PLM worked to catalyze production of PPE, both to protect people from the virus and to provide jobs in the country. The result was over 1.9 million units of PPE and nearly 500 jobs created at six small and medium-sized suppliers. In Eswatini, PLM reviewed 95 percent of the country’s cold-chain storage facilities to reduce wasted vaccines. They did this work in addition to utilizing existing relationships with small, independent delivery partners to get vaccines to remote areas and partnering with the private sector to vaccinate during non-working hours.

Coca-Cola Lead Cooler Technician in Ghana

broadcast bars CII NEWS

Senior Market Access Advisor Meghan Majorowski moderates Million Lives Collective panel on the global health ecosystem

Senior Market Access and Innovative Finance Advisor, Monisha Ashok, discusses blended finance at Sankalp’s Global Summit

CII tools featured in “20 Essential Resources: Contraceptive Product Introduction”

Diabetes and COVID Storytelling Hackathon featured in Vibes of India


book icon What We're Reading (And Listening To)

Stanford News
Stanford researchers identify four causes of ‘Zoom fatigue’ and their simple fixes

Washington Post
2021 MacArthur genius grants will give 25 new fellows $625,000 each

Kaiser Health News
What the Health?: The Future of Public Health


book icon Opportunities

FTxSDG Challenge

Women Lift
2022 U.S. Leadership Journey

Senior Digital Health Advisor



Photo of Elise Garton, Presidential Management Fellow

Elise Garton, Presidential Management Fellow

Elise Garton is a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) currently on a rotation with the digital health team in USAID’s Center for Innovation and Impact (CII). Her work focuses on analyzing the use of digital health systems to try to identify patterns, trends, and opportunities to use digital health tools and data to make better program decisions. Prior to joining to CII, Elise was on rotation with the Center for Global Health in the National Cancer Institute where she focused on monitoring and evaluating the National Institute of Health’s international cancer research. She was drawn to CII because she likes working with innovative teams within larger organizations, and we couldn’t be happier that she chose to spend her rotation with us! Outside of work Elise is likes to spend her time enjoying food (pancakes are a favorite) and running.

Read Elise’s full interview here [PDF, 139K]


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: October 15, 2021

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