Johns Hopkins University has announced a $20.5 million supplemental grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in support of a global program that addresses the reproductive health needs of people living in poor urban communities.
The grant builds on the university's five-year, $59.5 million Challenge Initiative and will enable the initiative to focus more on adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health issues. Led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute on Population and Reproductive Health within the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the initiative deploys evidence-based reproductive health interventions in fifty-two cities across four regions: East Africa, Francophone West Africa, Nigeria, and India. The grant will enable the initiative to address the needs of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 while continuing to deliver its established programs to women and men living in poor urban communities.
The initiative's "business unusual" approach includes financing designed to scale and sustain high-impact demand-driven family planning solutions for the urban poor; the choice to participate is left to local governments, which bring their own financial, material, and human resources to their preferred solution. In return, the initiative provides technical expertise and financial support.
"Globally, many adolescents don't have access to the sexual and reproductive health information they need to make informed choices, and this can keep communities trapped in a cycle of poverty," said Jose "Oying" Rimon, the director of the Gates Institute and a senior scientist at the Bloomberg School. "We are so grateful that the Gates Foundation has made it possible for the Challenge Initiative to use our 'business unusual' approach to really make a difference in the lives of youth."