low- and middle-income countries

Prof Vikram Patel's article the The Livemint, India, discusses the severity of Schizophrenia , a disorder deemed to be associated with greater disability than any other. Given the fact that stigma  contributes to the high disability weight attributed to schizophrenia, he argues that India needs to invest in developing a cadre of community-based workers who can deliver psychosocial interventions for a range of mental disorders, working in partnership with families, primary care physicians and mental health professionals. This is the only way, and one which is backed by solid scientific evidence, to address the unacceptably large treatment gaps for mental disorders, including for the most disabling health condition, in India.

Integrated Innovations to Improve Treatments and Expand Access to Care

Mental disorders are prevalent in all regions of the world, in every community and across every income level. An estimated 13% of the global burden of disease is attributable to mental disorders, with almost three quarters of this burden affecting people in low- and middle-income countries.

Grand Challenges Canada is seeking to improve treatments and expand access to care. We are committing up to $10 million CAD for the most promising bold ideas with big impact. Our focus is on low- and middle-income countries. We expect to fund proposals through two funding streams: seed grants (up to $250,000 CAD over 2 years) and transition-to-scale grants (up to $2,000,000 CAD over 3 years). Proposals must provide innovative solutions to address one (or more) of the following challenges in low-resource settings:

  • Integrate screening and core packages of services into routine primary health care
  • Reduce the cost and improve the supply of effective medications
  • Provide effective and affordable community-based care and rehabilitation
  • Improve children’s access to evidence-based care by trained health providers
  • Develop effective treatments for use by non-specialists, including lay health workers with minimal training
  • Incorporate functional impairment and disability into assessment
  • Develop mobile and IT technologies (such as telemedicine) to increase access to evidence-based care

Grand Challenges Canada is looking for solutions that demonstrate a clear path to scale and sustainability, have measurable outcomes of increased access to care and improved treatment, and can ultimately serve as models that can be replicated or scaled in other low-resource settings, or have lessons for other settings. Grand Challenges Canada does not fund capacity-building initiatives alone. We are seeking evidence-based, affordable treatments or innovative service delivery models that can be scaled in a sustainable manner.