Guyana Help the Kids – Part III of our Grand Challenges Canada series


Innovate Development is pleased to present a weekly series featuring projects funded and supported by Grand Challenges Canada. This is the third in a four-part series in which we cover topics surrounding mothers and children in the Global South.

For more information about Grand Challenges Canada, please see the bottom of this post or go to their website,


Guyana Help the Kids – Implementing neonatal intensive care methods in Guyana to save lives of neonates with respiratory distress

help the kids 1One third of child deaths in Guyana result from respiratory distress or bacterial infection in the first few weeks of life. Although infant mortality rates have improved in Guyana, the numbers today correspond with those in the USA and Canada in the early 1970s before the extensive availability of neonatal intensive care units.

Slightly under half of all babies in Guyana are born in the nation’s largest city and capital at Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC). GPHC has a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) but mortality remains high due to problems of education, limited experience and minimal equipment.

With the Ministry of Health of Guyana as a partner, Guyana Help the Kids (GHTK) is receiving a $350,000 Grand Challenges Canada grant to augment $250,000 from its own resources for equipment, education, and support to physicians and staff to improve the survival rate of high-risk neonates in Guyana.

help the kids 2The project will lift and sustain the level of NICU care at GPHC and develop a national neonatal network and transportation system. Neonatal-related infrastructure will expand and education provided to physicians and nurses throughout Guyana — in particular those at the 5 network hospitals, which account for more than 80 per cent of all deliveries in the nation.

“We intend to significantly decrease neonatal mortality by empowering Guyanese healthcare providers through education and technology which will ensure sustainability,” says Dr. Narendra Singh, founder of Guyana Help the Kids Organization.

About Grand Challenges Canada

In its latest round of grants, Grand Challenges Canada, which is funded by the Government of Canada, has announced $12 million worth of funding for 65 innovative projects targeting mothers’, children’s and newborn’s health related challenges in Low Resource Countries

There are two words that perfectly capture Grand Challenges Canada’s approach: Integrated InnovationTM. Integrated Innovation is the coordinated application of scientific/technological, social and business innovation to develop solutions to complex challenges. This approach does not discount the singular benefits of each of these types of innovation alone, but rather highlights the powerful synergies that can be realized by aligning all three. It is about turning innovation into practice on the ground; about engaging the local community where a project is instituted from the outset.

Grand Challenges Canada is funded by the Government of Canada and is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big impact in global health. The organization has invested in hundreds of projects in low- and middle income countries, coming from innovators from Canada or resource-constrained countries and is led by Dr. Peter A. Singer. His latest Annual Letter demonstrates how after four years, Grand Challenges Canada has evolved into a platform that nurtures innovative solutions in global health. How it offers opportunities for social enterprises and impact investors to generate measurable and sustainable social impact.

On the 22nd of May 2014, Grand Challenges Canada announced its latest round of funding: 65 innovations helping to improve and save the lives of Mothers, Newborn and Children in low-resource communities.

Of the recent grants announced, 61 are seed-level proof-of-concept grants in the Stars in Global Health portfolio, valued at $112,000 each, and four transition-to-scale projects collectively valued at $5.2 million. These projects run the gamut from mobile-device based Tuberculosis detection in India to a low-smoke multi-fuel cooking stove in Nepal. The hallmark of each of these projects is that the concepts all involve local community members to engage the population whose lives these innovations will seek to improve. Additionally we are supporting the scaling up of a project in Nepal at seeks to improve sanitation by producing and marketing simple low-cost latrines that can be installed in a matter of hours. The key being that the purchase and installation of a properly plumbed loo is a matter of pride for the rural folk in Nepal. This demonstrates an innovative approach to solving a health crisis that – to this day – claims the lives of many children under the age of five.

In the long run, Grand Challenges Canada is committed to scaling up its impact by investing in organizations with sustainable growth prospects. The articles in this series are examples of our latest round of scaling investments to innovators around the globe.

Shouri Bagchi

Shouri Bagchi

Shouri Bagchi works in communications for Grand Challenges Canada and is currently completing his IMBA in Strategy & Marketing at the Schulich School of Business.

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