Global Grand Challenges: Digital Health Services for Pregnant Women to Support Antenatal Risk Stratification in Sub-Saharan Africa

Funding Agency:
Gates (Bill & Melinda) Foundation

Digital health is revolutionizing the landscape of global healthcare. Solutions such as telemedicine, electronic medical records, and digitally enabled devices help to provide accessible, high-quality care around the world. These services have the potential to be especially impactful in low-income areas where care provided by highly trained individuals is not as common. Digital health can empower individual patients by enabling them to manage their own healthcare journeys. It can also drive systemic change through affordable, wide-reaching services that reduce the strain on healthcare professionals and facilities in low-resource settings.

The Maternal, Newborn & Child Health Discovery & Tools team believes that the ability to leverage digital health systems can enhance care and reduce adverse birth outcomes in low-and-middle income countries. One area of focus is the stratification of pregnancy risk to ensure that patients are put on the appropriate care pathway. This can enable tertiary facilities to focus their constrained resources on high-risk pregnancies, while low-risk pregnancies are managed at lower levels of care. Antenatal Risk Stratification (ARS) is a portfolio of devices and data that predicts a pregnant woman’s risk of experiencing adverse birth outcomes in early pregnancy. Building and implementing an ARS solution requires three key steps. 1) Collect data on pregnant women (e.g., patient history, clinical data, and diagnostic results with an emphasis on ultrasound and hemoglobin assessment). 2) Use data as inputs in a robust, AI decision model that accurately predicts a pregnant woman’s risk of adverse birth outcomes. 3) Support clinical decision making by using the predicted risk to pre-emptively triage patients across different levels of the healthcare system. Through this process, ARS would enable more efficient resource allocation by sending the riskiest patients to high-level facilities, while referring low-risk patients to community or public health centers. ARS would aim to improve the quality of care for pregnant women by ensuring that they can receive the right level of care.

Developing and delivering an ARS solution will require a robust digital backbone including tools for data collection, automated analytics, and platforms that connect to patients and healthcare providers. Before ARS can be successfully implemented, a landscape of digital health devices, partners, and services must be put into place.

Deadline; Jan. 13, 2022

Agency Website

Amount Description

Funding level: up to USD $500,000 for each project, with a grant term of 6 to 24 months depending on the scope of the project.

Funding Type





International Opportunities
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational
Social Sciences

External Deadline

January 13, 2022