Today sees the announcement of the first of the series of 2017 Newton Prizes, an annual £1 million fund for the best research or innovation that promotes economic development and social welfare in the Newton Fund partner countries of India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Newton Prize aims to incentivise researchers and innovators to participate in the Newton Fund as partners with the UK, and to work on the most important challenges facing these countries.

Each year, from 2017 until 2021, a minimum of five Newton funded projects, fellowships or other awards will be awarded the Newton Prize. Each Prize will be worth up to £200,000, and must be used to advance or develop existing Newton funded work.

The 2017 winners are Professor Andrew Shennan, of KCL Women’s Health Academic Centre at St Thomas’ Hospital in London and Professor Shivaprasad Goudar of the Women’s and Children’s Health Research Unit at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in Belgaum, India for their work on “Evaluation of the Introduction of a Novel Device in the Management of Hypertension and Shock in Pregnancy in Low Resource Settings”.

This Newton-Bhabha funded project is testing the introduction of a new vital sign device into routine maternity care at community and hospital level in 10 sites in India, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Haiti. Developed at KCL in London, the CRADLE Vital Signs Alert (VSA) is a hand-held semi-automated device which measures blood pressure and pulse, detecting hypertension and circulatory shock with an early warning system. It is affordable, easy-to-use, and portable with low power requirements.

Through the project, the CRADLE VSA has now been implemented in all 10 sites. More than 3300 devices have been delivered to hospitals and clinics, and successfully incorporated into routine care, sometimes as the first blood pressure device available in the clinic. A simple training package has been developed and more than 1500 health care workers have been trained to use the device. Results show that the VSA traffic light system strongly predicts the risks of complications and its introduction into maternity care will help save lives.

Professor Shennan said  “To be able to impact on care in those parts of the world where it is desperately needed has been our most fulfilling research experience.”

APEC is the UK distributor of the CRADLE VSA and they can be bought from our website, please click the image above for more information and to order.

I am sure you will wish to join me in congratulating Andy and his team. We could not be more proud of the CRADLE trial and it has been a privilege to be part of the ongoing work. The CRADLE VSA is absolutely brilliant, is cost effective and does exactly what it is meant to.