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Newborn Foundation

  • LocationsChina, Philippines
  • SectorHealth
  • Type of investmentGrant
  • Project stagePilot

A $225,000 grant to pilot in the Philippines and China a life-saving neonatal technology that screens new-born babies for infections like pneumonia and congenital heart defects – at less than 10% of the cost of traditional screening.

Newborn Foundation

Investment Overview


Amount of newborn deaths attributed to infection in the neonatal period


Cost per child for the Newborn Foundation's technology


Amount by which early detection can reduce infant mortality

The development problem.

Globally 2.5 million babies die in their first week of life each year due to neonatal infection. Nearly one-third of all newborn deaths can be attributed to infection in the neonatal period, primarily pneumonia and sepsis.

The innovation.

Low blood oxygen is an early indicator of infection. The Newborn Foundation in collaboration with global medical technology company Masimo has developed a low-cost pulse oximeter to measure blood oxygen levels in newborns. This technology costs about $1 per child screened and has the potential to detect sepsis, pneumonia, and congenital heart defects earlier than standard practice. It is estimated that earlier detection can reduce mortality by 25-30%.

GIF’s investment.

A grant of $225,000 will fund the completion of a pilot study of pulse oximetry in China and the Philippines. This pilot includes the screening of 93,000 newborns, and analysis of the screening results to determine whether pulse oximetry is a cost effective way to save lives at birth.

Investment objective(s).

Test whether pulse oximetry screening of newborns can save lives at birth.

Why we invested

Commitment to evaluation.

The Newborn Foundation is committed to evaluating whether pulse oximetry screening really is a cost effective way to save lives at birth in countries like the Philippines and China.


Track record of public sector scaling.

The Newborn Foundation has already successfully worked to make pulse oximetry screening for newborns standard practice in the U.S. They are collaborating closely with public hospitals in China and the Philippines, and developing strong relationships with key public health policy makers to scale up pulse oximetry if the results of the pilot study are positive.

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