The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced today the first nominees for awards in Fighting Ebola: A grand Challenge for Development. Following a rigorous selection process, these innovators have been identified for the solutions they presented to increase the protection and comfort of healthcare workers battling Ebola.
"The Fighting Ebola Grand Challenge embodies our new model of development - bringing together the world's brightest minds to solve our biggest global challenges", said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, who will share a prototype of one of the selected designs at the White House. "By working together with our partners from government, business, and civil society, we are creating innovations that will not only help West Africa's most vulnerable communities beat the Ebola epidemic, but also break the cycle of extreme proverty."
Led by USAID, the Challenge launched in early October and sourced new, practical solutions in partnership with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Defense. In just two months, innovators from around the world submitted over 1,500 ideas focused on helping frontline health care workers to provide better, more timely care and to contain this devastating virus. After hearing pitches from top innovators, U.S. Government experts and international partners selected the most promising ideas through a rapid, rigorous review process. This first round of awards focuses on improving the safety and comfort of the personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by healthcare workers and alleviating the heat stress it can cause in the hot, humid climates of West Africa.
The Johns Hopkins, Clinvue, and JHPIEGO entry was 1 of 3 to win the the award. Our design aims to innovate current personal protective suits by providing features that enable quicker and safer doffing/removal, while improving overall user comfort and cultural acceptance in the usage environment. Watch a video we pulled together to explain the suit concept, here.