Home » Catalyzing Equitable Artificial Intelligence (AI) Use to Improve Global Health

Request for Proposals (RFP)

Catalyzing Equitable Artificial Intelligence (AI) Use to Improve Global Health

Applications due no longer than November 7,2023, 12:00 pm Ethiopian time


Artificial Intelligence (AI) has significant potential to transform healthcare around the world. But as AI technology continues to advance, there is an urgent need to position low and middle-income countries (LMICs) to lead on the design and co-creation of AI-enabled technologies – thereby helping to improve the health and well-being of their women, children, and vulnerable communities.  Through this call for proposal, we are emphasizing AI solutions that are locally driven and owned hence more relevant to address the needs of people they intend to serve and more likely to be accepted and used by local communities.

Responsible global use of AI entails a safe, equitable, transparent, reliable, and beneficial process that is adhered to with a high level of accountability. As the world rapidly moves to seize AI’s opportunities, it is imperative to monitor and mitigate the safety, ethical, equity, and reliability dimensions of AI deployment. This will allow the enormous resilience, creativity, and commitment of researchers, scientists, and policymakers to capture the full capability of AI for lasting good.

Grand Challenges (GC) partners including GC Ethiopia, GC Brazil, GC India, GC Senegal, GC South Africa, and GC Africa (pan-African), along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, and the Pasteur Network, have jointly discussed the need for an equitable and responsible approach to the use of AI and specifically Large Language Models (LLMs) in LMICs. This call by the various GC partners is a follow-up to the initial call by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation representing collaborative steps towards identifying, nurturing, and catalyzing the creativity, energy, and skills that researchers, implementers, governments, and technical partners have demonstrated in solving specific challenges in their countries and regions through LLMs. We are optimistic that this family of related AI RFPs will provide a platform for potentially transformative solutions to improve the lives and conditions for numerous vulnerable communities.

Note that this request for proposals is being launched by six Grand Challenges partners: African researchers located in Ethiopia, Senegal, and South Africa, should apply through the corresponding country specific Grand Challenges portal; African researchers located in all other eligible African countries should apply through the Grand Challenges Africa portal; Brazilian researchers located in Brazilian organizations should apply through the Grand Challenges Brazil portal; and Indian researchers located in Indian organizations should apply through the Grand Challenges India portal. Eligible Pasteur Network sites located in Africa should apply through Grand Challenges Africa and Pasteur Network sites located in Brazil should apply through Grand Challenges Brazil. All other eligible Pasteur Network sites (not located in Africa or Brazil) should apply through Grand Challenges Senegal.

 The Challenge

This RFP seeks innovative approaches to the use of LLMs (such as ChatGPT-4, or other credible sources with equivalent capability) to advance global public health. Given the numerous open and non-open-source AI tools, we encourage/expect the applicant to select the tool most appropriate to their use case and context.

We are looking for projects that seek to solve problems in the following areas:

1. Clinical Decision Support

a. Tools that can be used by frontline health workers or clinicians for improving the diagnosis and management of health conditions and/or healthcare delivery.

b. Support for health guideline refinement and adherence

c. Diagnostics interpretation, reducing cost, and overcoming at-a-distance barriers

2. Population Health & Policymaking

a. Support for policymakers in leveraging new and timely insights through routinely available, underutilized, or unused data sources of text and voice.

b. Reduce time delays to transition new evidence into policy and implementation, as well as optimizing resource allocation.

c. Approaches that can distill information and make timely recommendations from complex and evolving datasets (e.g., forecasting disease epidemics and progression)

3.Support for Frontline Health Workers

a. Personalized coaching for semi-skilled FLWs that is tailored, highly relevant, and leads to an improved quality of service and/or lower costs.

b. LLM supported solutions for workflow management (e.g., writing discharge summaries, etc.)

c. Use of LLMs to support skilled FLWs in delivering higher quality services and improved efficiency

4. Health Communications & Patient Journeys

a. Develop impactful and targeted communications tools that bridge language and literacy gaps when communicating health-related knowledge, messaging, and advice (i.e., translating from local dialects, text-to-voice, etc). 

b. Provide timely, trusted, and tailored advice to end users who are marginalized and in so doing overcome significant cultural, access and stigma concerns.

c. Support patients in understanding and managing their own health status and care regiment

5. Health Systems Strengthening

a. Use of LLMs to improve interoperability of health data, systems, and programs

Ideally, the proposal will:

§  Work on a specific problem that has been identified as a priority in Ethiopia.

§  Leverage AI to increase productivity and efficiency in healthcare.

§  Contribute to the body of evidence related to AI use in LMICs across global health.

§  Foster innovation with AI in the interest of supporting public health decision makers and affected communities.

§  Place a strong emphasis on systematically observing, validating, and quantifying the improved outcomes balanced with cost effectiveness from AI use.

§  Conform with global principles of AI use i) to do no harm ii) to leverage technology against the toughest/most relevant global health problem iii) ensures that projects are led from LMICs even though there may be a high-income country (HIC) partner iv) local voices and ideas are captured throughout the process, and v) there is a dissemination plan of the outcomes of the projects.

§  Give local communities an opportunity to provide their own perspective and cultural context so that they can decide on both i) their own thresholds for safe usage and ii) the overall utility of AI within their own lives. 

Priority will be given to proposals that have:

§  An explicit request for an AI supported project in Ethiopia.

§  Projects that have already completed a pilot before this Grand Challenges call, and/or,

§  Projects that have lessons/tools that can be transferred to other use cases / situations/ contexts with minimal change.

§  Emphasize importance of community-specific, culturally appropriate, and representative AI

Funding Levels, Period of Performance for Grant, & Geography of Interest:

The funding level is a grant of up to USD $100,000.00, for each project, provided to the organization, with a term of up to 12 months. The geography of interest for this proposal is Ethiopia, and the project needs to be led by investigators in Ethiopia. Global partners may be included, but proposals must demonstrate at least 80% of the funding is going to an organization within Ethiopia. Application budgets should be commensurate with the scope of work proposed.

What We Are Looking For:

§  Proposals that demonstrate clear applications of LLMs (such as GPT-4, Laude, LLaMA, or other credible sources with equivalent capabilities), to address a specific challenge related to global health in Ethiopia.

§  Proposals that demonstrate the grantee has a firm grasp of the application, has done some of the stakeholder mapping, and has an engagement plan with local decision makers to ensure the proposal is successful.

§  Proposals that present a high leverage and scalability opportunity.

§  Proposals that outline a clear, feasible and reproducible methodology.

§  Proposals that have timely access to data, decision-makers’ time and interest in using AI

§  Proposals that articulate how the project will lead to impact in the near-term and how those benefits will be sustained past the lifetime of the project.

§  Proposals that are driven by a shared commitment to open science, data sharing, and building collaboration and analysis infrastructure to enable discoveries that will benefit people everywhere.

§  We particularly encourage applications from women-led organizations and applications involving projects led by women.

We will not consider funding for proposals that:

§  Do not explicitly use/reference the use of LLMs in their project execution.

§ Do not have timely access to necessary data, decision-maker time, commitment, and interest (a commendation/request letter will be advantageous).

§  Do not demonstrate that most of the work proposed will be led by investigators and teams based out of Ethiopia.

§  Do not include a validation plan.

§  Do not provide any thought towards scale up and sustainability.

       GC AI Application Form

       GC AI Proposal Content 


This initiative is open to organizations based in Ethiopia, including nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies, government agencies and academic institutions. Collaborations with global partners is acceptable, however, at least 80% of the funding needs to be awarded directly to organizations based in Ethiopia

 Please refer to the Application Details document.

No indirect cost coverage is permitted

No. However, we will ask reviewers about conflicts of interest and will not assign reviewers with conflicts.

Due to the rapid proposal and review timelines applicable to this challenge, applicants with proposals that are not selected for award may receive a notification of decline without specific feedback.

No. All awards are made to the organization where the individual holds their primary appointment. Institutions must agree to the terms and conditions governing the grant award prior to award activation.

The funding level for the Catalyzing Equitable Artificial Intelligence (AI) Use RFP is a grant of up to $100,000 USD for each project, including the 10% indirect costs permitted under with a grant term of up to 12 months. Application budgets should be commensurate with the scope of work proposed.

If you are having issues submitting your application, we would encourage you to submit from a different browser. If the issue persists, please email the specifics of your problem to shallo.daba@ahri.gov.et 

We will periodically post answers to questions as they are submitted, but do not have a specific schedule. We will provide answers on this page that are of relevance and of general interest to potential applicants. For answers to specific questions that are not covered here, please email shallo.daba@ahri.gov.et