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Security Adviser Rice Calls For More Partnerships To Address Infant, Maternal Mortality Challenges

“U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice called for more ‘eureka moments’ and ‘unorthodox partnerships’ on Wednesday, as she addressed scientists working on decreasing infant and maternal mortality in poor countries” at a USAID event to announce the award finalists for the agency’s “Saving Lives at Birth” initiative,” Agence France-Presse reports (Seck, 7/31). The agency “announced 22 Round 3 award nominees from a pool of 53 finalists — innovators who descended on Washington for three days to showcase bold, new ideas to save the lives of mothers and newborns in developing countries with aspirations of international funding to realize their vision,” according to a USAID press release. “The award nominees cut across maternal and neonatal health, family planning, nutrition and HIV, and they present not only cutting-edge technologies that can be used in resource-poor settings, but innovative approaches to delivering services and the adoption of healthy behaviors,” the press release states (7/31).

“Rice, in her first public remarks since taking on the job, said these researchers had ‘done a remarkable job advancing the president’s vision to elevate development alongside diplomacy and defense as an equal pillar of our national security,'” AFP writes, noting the researchers, “many of whom were finalists for a competitive USAID grant, came up with varied schemes, including … engineering bacteria to fortify yogurt with vitamin A.” According to Rice, “a woman in labor in sub-Saharan Africa was 136 times more likely to die than her counterpart in a developed country,” the news agency adds (7/31). “‘We need to harness our power for progress and put it to work improving the lives of people around the world. That’s the spirit the Obama administration has brought to all of our development work,’ she said in her address” at the event, First Post notes (8/1).