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Vital Stories

Seven New Countries Join Global Grants Family in New Round of Funding

Vital Strategies

The Global Grants Program closed its sixth round of funding with a selection of 12 projects dedicated to strengthening the collection, analysis and use of high-quality data in public health decision-making. Between July 2019 and February 2022, the Global Grants Program allocated $8.5 million to 83 projects in 38 countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America. 

Through a competitive process, the program provides funds and technical exchanges to government partners to implement focused, results-oriented projects that improve public health data in low- and middle-income countries. These projects center on civil registration and vital statistics and data use for decision-making; many also focus on data use to promote health equity or to strengthen the COVID-19 response. This funding round extends the Global Grants Program’s reach to seven new countries: Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Mali, Sao Tome and Principe, Bulgaria, Belize, and Nepal. 

Below are snapshots of the new portfolio of Global Grants projects.

Civil Registration and Vital Statistics

Everyone should count. Yet globally, about 40% of deaths and 25% of births of children under 5 years old are still not registered. Nine of the new projects are working to improve birth and death registration. 

Projects led by the Nigeria Police Force Pathologist’s Office and the Liberia Ministry of Health seek to improve death registration rates and build a reliable, countrywide picture of leading causes of death, which is critical to inform health policy and the allocation of resources. By working to ensure that medical certifications of cause of death adhere to international standards, and to increase overall death certification, notification and registration, these projects aim to better capture mortality data—subsequently leading to more robust population-based planning and policy.

In Mali, a project from the National Institute of Public Health will work to strengthen the collection of epidemiological surveillance data on perinatal deaths—the death of a fetus, or of a newborn within its first week of life—while ensuring that community representatives can integrate the registration of these vital events into the larger national health surveillance system. Capturing this data is necessary to reduce neonatal deaths and stillbirths.

Data Use for Decision-Making

Many governments have a trove of health data available to them—from census to hospital records. But often it remains unused despite its potential to guide critical policy or investment decisions. Four new projects will work to expand the use of existing data to enhance public health policymaking. 

A project in São Tomé and Príncipe, led by the nonprofit Associação Brasileira de Profissionais de Epidemiologia de Campo (ProEpi), will continue to institutionalize and strengthen the use of data by: revising and publishing a 3rd edition of the National Technical Guide for Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response; implementing the CDC’s Field Epidemiology Training Program; and elaborating a national plan of action for health security. The project will also train surveillance professionals on timely and quality data collection so that critical public health issues can be published in health bulletins. Moving beyond their borders, these professionals are expected to share experiences with an informal network of peers in other countries, including Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde. 

In the Dominican Republic, the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Ureña will develop an artificial intelligence-enhanced epidemiological dashboard to predict, with an acceptable level of uncertainty, dynamics of morbidity and mortality related to COVID-19 and other diseases. With this information, the health officials in the Dominican Republic can assess the demand for acute care medical services, determine the time frames for public health measures such as stay-at-home orders or quarantines, and even predict new needs that could arise in subsequent pandemic waves or future health emergencies.

The Global Grants Program, designed to follow the lead of the countries in which Vital Strategies works, is thrilled to welcome this new cohort. Our local partners, who are intimately familiar with the needs of their local health systems and communities, are the driving force behind the program. We look forward to working together on these locally led and managed projects.

For questions regarding the Global Grants Program or the funding application, please contact  

The Data for Health Initiative is a global effort supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It provides technical assistance to low- and middle-income countries worldwide to improve public health data systems at the national level, including improving civil registration and vital statistics systems, maximizing the use of data to enhance public health policymaking and decision-making, establishing and strengthening national cancer registries and more. Vital Strategies serves as an implementing partner. 

CRVS Projects

Improving Data Quality Through Field Epidemiology; Instituto Nacional de Saúde Pública; Cape Verde

Increasing Death Registration and Improving Medical Certification of Cause of Death; Nigeria Police Force Pathologist’s Office; Nigeria

Implementing the CRVS Improvement Framework in Burkina Faso; The General Directorate for the Modernization of Civil Status; Burkina Faso

Electronic Collection of Perinatal Deaths; National Institute of Public Health; Mali

Enhancing Technical and Collaborative Interoperability Between Actors in the Civil Status and Statistics System; National Agency for Secured Documents; Chad

Improving Medical Certification of Cause of Death; Ministry of Health; Liberia

Project for the Political Appropriation of the Revision of the Family Code; Population Directorate of the Ministry of Home Affairs; Democratic Republic of the Congo

Improving Access to Legal Gender Recognition for Trans People in Bulgaria; Bilitis Resource Center Foundation; Bulgaria

Modernizing the Medicolegal Death Investigation System in Belize through Legal Reform and Enhanced Stakeholder Engagement; National Forensic Science Service; Belize 

Data Use Projects

Improving Data Analysis, Use and Dissemination of Vital Statistics; Bureau of Statistics; Lesotho

An AI-Enhanced Epidemiological Intelligence Dashboard for Santo Domingo; Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Urena; Dominican Republic

Strengthening Training in Field Epidemiology for the Production of Bulletins; Associação Brasileira de Profissionais de Epidemiologia de Campo (ProEpi); São Tomé and Príncipe

Health Information System Strengthening; Ministry of Health and Population; Nepal