The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has announced grants totaling $18.1 million over fifteen months from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Bayer AG in support of family planning programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grants of $10.6 million from Bayer and $7.5 million from the Gates Foundation to the Challenge Initiative (TCI), a global effort launched in 2016, will be used to meet the reproductive health needs of women and girls living in poor urban communities in East Africa, francophone West Africa, Nigeria, and India. Based at the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute on Population and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg School, TCI currently supports ninety-five cities in ten countries working to implement evidence-based, high-impact solutions for improving access to contraception and family planning services. The funding will enable TCI to continue providing reproductive health solutions to city governments and health systems while integrating COVID-19 prevention and messaging.
In addition to the grant, Bayer will support a scholarship and fellows program at the Bloomberg School designed to train a new generation of leaders in reproductive health.
"Bayer and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation both understand how vitally important it is to continue providing women and girls with contraception during this pandemic," said senior scientist Jose Rimon II, TCI's principal investigator and director of the Gates Institute. "While lockdowns and partial re-openings limit access to reproductive health supplies and services, TCI has designed innovative programming to overcome challenges in service delivery, demand generation, advocacy, and management and coordination posed by the pandemic."
(Photo credit: The Challenge Initiative)