So, who is our Star in Global Health? And where does Canada come in? Well, regular readers will know Rohit Ramchandani, our Public Health Advisor. Rohit first contacted us in 2008, saying he’d been contemplating similar ideas, that he’d seen the blog, and that he could help. One look at his CV, and we thought the short answer was “Yes, Please”.
A Senior Health Advisor at the Canadian International Development Agency at the time, Rohit began by plugging Jane into research papers and funding opportunities on the far side of the pond, and went on to be accepted to the prestigious Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. ColaLife was to be the basis of his Doctoral dissertation. In addition to having played a key role in guiding the development of the concept, establishing new partnerships, and writing concept papers, Rohit has been a central advocate for ColaLife, and is the Principal Investigator for COTZ (the ColaLife Operational Trial in Zambia), having designed the evaluation methodology.
His most recent brainwave was to apply to Grand Challenges Canada as you can see here.
Here is Rohit explaining about the award, and what it means to him – and to ColaLife:
First off, a huge thanks to Grand Challenges Canada. We are looking forward to working with you, and to introducing ColaLife to other key partners within the Grand Challenges Canada family. It’s an honor to be recognized amongst other talented innovators so devoted to making a difference.
“A grand challenge is a specific critical barrier that, if removed, would help solve an important health problem in the developing world, with a high likelihood of global impact through widespread implementation. Historically, some of the greatest impacts in global health were from innovators who tried out bold ideas. The discovery of vaccines over 200 years ago and of antibiotics in the last century are classic examples of unorthodox thinking that resulted from bold ideas that have had big impact and saved millions of lives.” (GCC)
GCC supports bold ideas with the potential for big impact in global health. They are funded by the Government of Canada and fund innovators in low and middle-income countries as well as in Canada. The bold ideas they support integrate science/technology, social and business innovation – something they call Integrated Innovation™, and something that we believe is exemplified by ColaLife.
In the 2008 Budget, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Development Innovation Fund to:
“…support the best minds in the world as they search for breakthroughs in global health and other areas that have the potential to bring about enduring changes in the lives of millions of people in poor countries”.
Grand Challenges Canada is the primary delivery vehicle for this fund and is focused on making this vision a reality. It focuses on helping to bring successful innovation to scale, catalyzing sustainability and impact. With a determined focus on results, and saving/improving lives, they will join DFID, Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust, COMESA/TMSA and Honda as donors of the COTZ trial, specifically providing support for important and additional elements of our evaluation .
The full-length video that made up part of our application can be seen here:
Our GCC profile can be found here.
Recent links to media coverage from the announcement and related pieces can be found below:
CBC Radio – World Report interview with Rohit (Canada), 11/22/2012 (this link may decay)