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Irish charity gets millions from Gates Foundation

Five year project

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Irish charity Concern Worldwide has received a $41m (£25m) grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The money will be spent over five years in six countries on child and maternal health projects. India, Malawi and Sierra Leone are the first three, the others will be chosen shortly.

The money will try and find what what obstacles there are to effective delivery of healthcare to mothers and children. The charity notes that proven interventions already exist for many problems, but often do not get to the right people.

Tom Arnold, chief exec of Concern Worldwide, said the project was all about finding new ideas.

Jaime Sepulveda, director of integrated health solutions at the Foundation, said: "Concern Worldwide’s commitment to seeking innovation from diverse, non-traditional sources will be a key ingredient in the success of this programme.”

The charity will seek to involve a wide variety of people in its scheme including mid-level and junior health staff and academics as well as the private sector and community members.

In other news, a research project in Melbourne, Australia to find a vaccine for malaria is poised to start human trials. Thanks to a $17m grant from the Gates Foundation, researchers have been able to remove two key genes from the parasite to prevent it entering red blood cells. But the genetically-modified organism still activates the immune system.

The trials will take place at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland, US from early next year. Hat tip to TG Daily for alerting us to this story.

The Walter And Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research statement is here. ®

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