Admin. Shah announces DIV's latest grant: testing the balloon that can save mothers' lives

Raj Shah PATH announcement

Seattle, WA – USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced in Seattle on October 18 that Development Innovation Ventures will support a new technology to help combat postpartum bleeding – the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide.

Across the globe, a woman dies from an uncontrollable postpartum hemorrhage every four minutes. Balloon tamponades can save a woman’s life 76% to 100% of the time, depending on the design. However, with costs ranging from $77 to $312 for a single-use tamponade, they are prohibitively expensive for widespread use in developing countries.   

To help close this gap, DIV is supporting the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) and Health Tech’s development of a safe, simple balloon tamponade that, at less than $10 per tamponade, would be affordable in the developing world. The tamponade stops hemorrhage and controls uterine bleeding at as much as a 97% reduction in cost. 

USAID launched DIV in October 2010 to find and support breakthrough solutions to the world’s toughest development challenges at a fraction of the usual cost. DIV Stage One funding will allow PATH to initiate technology development.

Members of Congress voiced their support for the new project:

"I applaud USAID for this lifesaving investment in innovation," said U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). "Investing in global health improves lives across the world and prevents millions of needless deaths. Washington state has long been a leader in the discovery, development and delivery efforts and I'm proud to see PATH once again leading the charge in making a difference."

“Washington state is a center for innovation, and PATH proves that the way forward in global health development is with innovative and cost-effective solutions,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). “I applaud USAID for investing in PATH's innovative work improving maternal health worldwide and expanding access to life-saving technologies in rural areas.”

“PATH's creative designers understand global health from the developing world's perspective, and have a track record of designing culturally sensitive, life-saving products,” said Representative Jim McDermott (D WA-7). “USAID investment […] is money well spent in furthering its mission.”

PATH and partners will develop, test, and validate product requirement specifications and a low-cost manufacturing feasibility plan for a safe, effective tamponade device that meets international standards for medical devices. A PATH team will conduct user-based evaluations of the design in Ghana.   These activities will establish a foundation and work plan for the development and scaling of an innovative, affordable technology that will reduce financial barriers to saving the lives of new mothers.


  • Read the full project description here
  • Read the USAID press release here
  • Read the PATH announcement here


Last updated: May 26, 2016

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