The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to a researcher at the
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
to improve the health of mothers and children in rural, hard-to-reach areas by increasing vaccine coverage.
Dr. Alain Labrique, director of the Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative, received a Grand Challenges Exploration Grant from the Gates foundation. This is the first time that Labrique and Hopkins’s public health school have received this particular grant although members of Labrique’s team have received other Gates’ grants.
“Grand Challenges pioneered funding for innovative research, for researchers to receive seed funding to take their ideas to the next level,” Labrique says. He is working with a team to develop a virtual vaccine registry, called mTikka. Part of the study will look at the impact of mobile phones on rural health delivery.
Labrique says the registry builds on 12 years of public health work in rural Bangladesh, particularly on behalf of maternal, neonatal and child nutrition and survival. His team works in partnership with the Bangladesh ministry of health and family welfare and social enterprise partners mPower Health. mTikka will be test-piloted in rural, remote areas of Bangladesh for future use in other developing countries.
The Grand Challenges grant covers a 12- to 18-month long period. Researchers can reapply for another Grand Challenges grant after that but “you cannot hold more than one seed grant at a time,” Labrique says.
Grand Challenges grants have two levels, each with its own requirements. The Phase 1 grants are for $100,000 each. The Phase 2 grants start at $1 million. Will Labrique be applying for a Phase 2 grant in the future? “Oh, certainly,” he says.
Source: Dr. Alain Labrique, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Writer: Barbara Pash