"Saving Brains" of kids in developing countries: Grand Challenges Canada funds 14 Bold New Ideas

Four Bold Ideas with Big Impact nominated for scale-up grants of up to $2 million

Ten projects awarded $270,000, including one to reduce harm to brains of pre-term babies caused by pain of multiple daily hospital needles, other procedures

TORONTO, Oct. 23, 2013 /CNW/ - Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, today extended a total of $10.1 million to 14 bold, creative projects aimed at improving the early brain development of kids in low-resource countries.

Projects in Jamaica, Colombia, Bangladesh and Indonesia are scale-up award nominees (board-approved grants up to CDN $2 million, pending successful contract negotiations).

Seed grants of CDN $270,000 each are given to seven organizations overseas -- in Vietnam (2 grants), Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Zambia and Peru.  And three seed grants are given to Canadian organizations: the Hospital for Sick Kids, Toronto (two grants), and the University Health Network, Toronto.

All 14 projects will be implemented in developing countries: five in Africa, six in Asia and three in Latin America and the Caribbean.

"Impoverished brains result in impoverished countries," says Dr. Peter A. Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada.  "For a wide range of sad, all-too-familiar and preventable reasons, an estimated 200 million children under 5 years old in the world's 112 low- and middle-income countries will fail to reach their brain's full development potential."

"These projects illustrate well the success of our search for 'bold ideas with big impact' pioneering new approaches worldwide to maximize the number of kids in low-resource countries who achieve and contribute to their fullest capabilities." Dr. Singer added.

Says Mrs. Laureen Harper, honourary chairperson of the program: "The Grand Challenges Canada Saving Brains program is designed to help millions of children in developing countries who fail to reach their full development potential due to such factors as malnutrition, infection, birth complications, or a lack of nurturing and stimulation at an early age."

Says the Honourable Christian Paradis, Canadian Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie: "Our Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper, is committed to advancing the health of the world's most vulnerable mothers, newborns and children. We are proud to partner with Grand Challenges Canada to find innovative solutions to the most pressing global health challenges. The Saving Brains program is just one example of how innovation can help improve the lives of children in their earliest days. "

For the full version of this News Release, a complete listing of projects by institution and country, and more information on all grants, please visit
www.grandchallenges.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/SavingBrains_NewsRelease_2013Oct23_EN.pdf

Saving Brains

The Grand Challenges Canada Saving Brains Program promotes fulfillment of human capital potential by focusing on interventions that nurture brain development in the first 1,000 days of life.  The goal of the Saving Brains program is to unlock the potential of children by developing and scaling up products, services and policies that protect and nurture early brain development in an equitable and sustainable manner. Almost CDN $30 million has been committed to date.  In addition to projects, the Saving Brains program is investing in an authoritative quantification of the economic impact and true costs of poverty-related risk factors for cognitive and human capital development.

Grand Challenges Canada invites global, regional and corporate partners committed to enabling innovation for early brain development to join us in Saving Brains.

Please visit grandchallenges.ca and look for us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

SOURCE: Grand Challenges Canada

For further information:

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES

Terry Collins 
+1-416-538-8712 / +1-416-878-8712
tc@tca.tc

Lode Roels
+1-416-673-6570 / +1-647-328-2021
lode.roels@grandchallenges.ca

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