April 2019 Member Newsletter


Above: Photo by Tito Justin, Save the Children. Baby Mabior* has a cough, fever, and malaria. After diagnosis, she was found to have pneumonia and was treated immediately.





Have you heard the global buzz around pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) and recommendations regarding when they should be administered in children? This month’s blog by Dr. Cynthia Whitney provides a fresh perspective on PCV schedules. Given the recent focus on PCVs, we will also be hosting a PCV and PCV schedules webinar event on April 25, 2019 at 10AM EDT.


If you’re looking for funding, look no further than our Member and Partner Updates section. We are in the home stretch for our featured funding opportunities so if you would like to apply, be sure to submit by the deadlines listed below. The Events section contains information on both the American Thoracic Society (ATS) International Conference and the ASM Microbe 2019 Meeting. If you are interested in attending these conferences, please follow the links below. Lastly, see the Publications section for some recent papers on pneumonia-related topics. Please send any announcements or updates that you would like to share to PIN coordinator, Mari Couasnon (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for a newsletter feature.


The first quarter of 2019 quickly came and went, and we hope that the remaining quarters of the year are as action-packed as the first! 


Please share this PIN newsletter with your colleagues and networks by forwarding the newsletter PDF attached to this email.






MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Join us for another 2019 Pneumonia Innovations Network webinar series event:

PCV and PCV schedules. April 25, 2019 at 10AM EDT.

Listen to talks by Drs. Bill Hausdorff, Grant Mackenzie, Shabir Madhi, and Gail Rodgers. Emails with webinar access details will be sent out soon. We hope you join us!






Timing is everything! Preventing more pneumonia with an innovative vaccine schedule

by Cynthia Whitney, IHRC, Inc. and Emory Global Health Institute


To those of you who do not spend your day thinking about infant vaccines, it may come as a surprise that the timing of vaccine doses can have a big effect on how well they work.  Sometimes giving doses too close together, at the same time as other types of vaccines, or too early in life can reduce the immune system’s response to a vaccine.  A poor immune response means a vaccine may not prevent disease.


Vaccines are a key weapon in the fight against pneumonia.  Over the last decade, most infant immunization programs around the world have starting using pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs), and the data from countries using PCVs have shown a promising drop in the burden of pneumonia.  More work is needed to make sure PCVs are available to all children, however. Of the 15 countries with the largest numbers of pneumonia deaths in children, 4 still do not include PCV in their immunization programs, and, of the 11 that do, only 3 have coverage levels for 3 doses above the 90% mark.



Above: Photo by Charlie Forgham-Bailey, Save the Children. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Vaccinations are given at various points during the child's development, and helps prevent numerous ailments, including pneumonia.


Over the last few years, the question of whether the timing of PCV doses can be adjusted to improve pneumonia control has been a hot topic in the scientific community.  Many experts believe that spreading out the three doses that are typically given in the first few months of life to give the third dose at 9 months or later will result in more long-lasting protection for children receiving the vaccine.  This type of schedule, known as “2+1,” may also better prevent spread of pneumococcal bacteria, protecting those who are too young or too old to receive the vaccine themselves.  The 2+1 schedule is used in many European countries and in South Africa; in 2018, Australia changed to a 2+1 schedule in response to cases of severe pneumococcal disease that were occurring in older children. 


In most African countries, however, long-standing practice has been to give immunizations including PCV doses during routine visits at about 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age, a schedule designed to provide protection from vaccine-preventable diseases as early in life as possible. Over the past few years, deadly pneumococcal meningitis epidemics have occurred in Ghana, in spite of a successful infant immunization program that has achieved high coverage with 3 early doses.  These outbreaks, along with other data suggesting that pneumococcal disease and transmission are not completely controlled in countries using 3 early PCV doses, is encouraging policy makers to reconsider their national PCV immunization schedules.

A new statement from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization now strongly supports use of the 2+1 schedule for PCV, in an effort to improve control of pneumococcal pneumonia and meningitis.    The SAGE statement, released in February 2019, encourages use of the 2+1 schedule even for countries that have for years been providing three early doses.  Changing the timing of vaccine delivery will require planning, training, new materials such as immunization cards, and follow-up to ensure that vaccine delivery is good – substantial commitments of time and resources from immunization programs.  Going forward, however, this investment in changing to an innovative vaccine schedule will result in better control of pneumonia and other types of severe pneumococcal disease, and lives saved.



[1] International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2018). Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018. https://www.jhsph.edu/ivac/resources/


2 Bozio CH, Abdul-Karim A, Abenyeri J, et al. (2018) Continued occurrence of serotype 1 pneumococcal meningitis in two regions located in the meningitis belt in Ghana five years after introduction of 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. PLoS ONE 13(9): e0203205. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0203205


3World Health Organization.  Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in infants and children under 5 years of age:  WHO position paper – February 2019. Weekly Epidemiological Record 2019; 94 (8):85-104.  https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/310968/WER9408.pdf?ua=1



About the author: Cynthia G. Whitney, MD, MPH is a physician and epidemiologist who retired in 2018 after 25 years with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she served as Chief of the bacterial Respiratory Diseases Branch, among other roles.  She is now a consultant for IHRC, Inc. and Emory Global Health Institute.







APPLY NOW: $5 Million in Grant Funding for Digital Health Solutions

The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation harnesses advances in science and technology to save lives in developing countries. They work with partners to deliver proven tools and discover groundbreaking new solutions that support the development of integrated health solutions for family planning, nutrition, and maternal and child health.


Digital Health Global Grand Challenge: In the Emerging Technologies for New Solutions in Global Health call for proposals, the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation seeks ideas that apply to emerging technology - or a combination of emerging technologies - for new and potentially transformative solutions in global health priority areas. The foundation will give out $100,000 USD grants to 50 organizations that can provide new ways of improving outcomes in infectious diseases, disease surveillance, pregnancy and birth, child growth and development, and vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics.


Apply Now: Deadline is April 10, 2019. If you are selected for a $100,000 USD grant, you may have an opportunity to apply for follow-on grant funding up to $1 million USD.


Illustrative Digital Health Solutions: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is interested in different types of applications of emerging technologies to improve global health outcomes, including (but not limited to) artificial intelligencewearable sensorsaugmented realityvirtual reality, and geospatial mapping


The post Apply Now: $5 Million in Grant Funding for Digital Health Solutions appeared first on ICTworks.




Innovation-to-Scale: Call for Proposals

The Global Financing Facility (GFF; www.globalfinancingfacility.org), in partnership with Laerdal Global Health (www.laerdalglobalhealth.com) and the Government of Norway (norad.no/en/), is pleased to announce a Call for Proposals from organizations which can accelerate uptake of proven innovations to reduce maternal and newborn mortality around the time of birth and in the immediate postnatal period. In collaboration with national governments, the goal is to demonstrate and document how accelerated and sustainable delivery of such innovations will help countries achieve the life-saving impacts required to meet ambitious maternal and newborn mortality targets and, through this, facilitate further implementation across relevant GFF countries.


Five grants are expected to be awarded through this call, each with an expected implementation period of three years from inception of activities. Each grant is expected to be up to $5 million, and funding may be provided in multiple tranches.


The deadline for initial proposals is April 30, 2019, at 11:59 Eastern Time. Received proposals will be considered by a review committee established by GFF, and responses will be sent early June, 2019. Questions and proposals should be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with subject line “Innovation-to-Scale query” or “Innovation-to-Scale proposal”, as appropriate. Click here to see the full Call for Proposals document.




Apply by April 30: MedTech Conference Global Health Innovator Award

Washington, D.C. March 19, 2019: TEAMFund announced that it is accepting applications through April 30 for its 2019 Global Health Innovator Award. Any and all companies engaged in global health technology research and development are encouraged to apply. This will be the third consecutive year TEAMFund has presented the distinguished Global Health Innovator Award in conjunction with the MedTech Innovator Competition. The award will be presented during The MedTech Conference, Sept. 23-25 in Boston.


The $50,000 award presented by TEAMFund recognizes an early-stage medtech company that has a novel, appropriate and sustainable medical device for the world’s low and resource-constrained populations. The award is designed to identify efficient ways to accelerate innovation and support the deployment of affordable and appropriate medical technologies in the developing world and other underserved populations. While innovative medical technologies have the potential to impact the lives of patients and health care workers worldwide, significant barriers keep many resource-constrained populations from accessing these technologies.


Applications should be no longer than one page and can include the company’s pitch deck. It should include how the technology is used in low resource settings, and which non-communicable disease it addresses. Applications can be forwarded to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Want more information about the MedTech Conference? Click here.






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Sunday, 23 February 2020