Emory gets $8.16 million Gates grant to help in Ethiopia

Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff  School of Nursing has received an $8.16 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a project to improve survival rates of mothers and newborns in Ethiopia.

The 2 1/2-year interdisciplinary project will be led by Lynn Sibley, an associate professor in the Emory School of Nursing and Rollins School of Public Health.

The demonstration project will be conducted in two regions of Ethiopia where newborn and maternal mortality are major concerns.

"During birth to the first 48 hours postnatal period are when mothers and babies are most likely to die," Sibley said. "That's a critical period for mothers and babies in many developing countries."

Ethiopia, which is high on the Gates Foundation's priority list, is mostly rural and currently has limited access to care.

Sibley, who is also an associated faculty member in Emory's department of anthropology, estimates that 94 percent of women there give birth at home with family members or sometimes traditional birth attendants.

The funds will enable a team of Emory faculty members and graduate students to work with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health at central and regional levels to create community-oriented ways to improve maternal and newborn health in rural areas.  If  successful, that strategy will be positioned to be  implemented throughout the nation.

The project will include two Ethiopian universities and regional health bureaus, the John Snow Research and Training Institute, and the University Research Corp.