$10m philanthropic grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies

March 15 / 154

Professor Alan Lopez at the School of Population and Global Health
Professor Alan Lopez at the School of Population and Global Health

The University is part of a $100m Data for Health initiative by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Australian government.

In the first phase of this initiative, the University of Melbourne has received a $10 million philanthropic grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to provide the principle technical guidance in establishing the Data for Health initiative.

The initiative aims to improve health data in developing countries by using new communications technologies to help countries improve basic birth and death data and to monitor major risk factors. 

Working in conjunction with the Australian government’s newly launched innovationXchange, and program partners, the University of Melbourne will lead the work on birth and death data systems. In developing countries.

Alan Lopez, Laureate Professor at the School of Population and Global Health, will lead a team of experts in collecting and evaluating birth and death data in developing countries, with the goal of establishing a comprehensive ‘roadmap’ to better monitor global health outcomes. His expertise and networks in this area were established over his research career and over 20 years’ experience at the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Once priority health issues and challenges are identified based on the broad and comparative understanding that these data can offer, the most effective policies and programs can be developed,” said Professor Lopez. “Impartial, reliable and timely evidence is a critical step towards informing policymakers and others involved with improving health systems to deliver better population health outcomes.”

Each year millions of people around the world die from preventable causes such as diabetes, chronic lung disease, cancers, heart disease and injuries. Worldwide, more than 65 per cent of deaths go undocumented, making it difficult for countries to make well-informed decisions around health funding priorities. 

The Data for Health initiative will provide countries with tools to better collect and use health-related data, enabling them to shape public health policies and measure the success of programs.

“As developed nations aspire to personalised medicine, it is incumbent upon us to transfer the expertise that exists in universities and professional networks to developing nations to support the design of effective healthcare systems,” said Professor Stephen Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences. “Alan’s networks, research and breadth of experiences with the WHO provide outstanding leadership in this field.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said, “The University welcomes the opportunity to provide the technical leadership of such a significant initiative to underpin the targeting of limited global resources and save lives.”

The grant counts towards the target of Believe – the Campaign for the University of Melbourne


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