Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced today an additional $150 million commitment through Merck for Mothers to further advance the initiative’s mission of helping create a world where no woman has to die giving life. This investment builds on a $500 million commitment made in 2011 and underscores the company’s legacy of catalyzing sustainable solutions that improve health equity and maternal health outcomes worldwide. To date, programs supported by Merck for Mothers promoting safe, high-quality, respectful care have reached 13.1 million women. The new commitment aims to support programs that deliver essential maternal and reproductive health services to reach 25 million women by 2025.
This investment comes at a pivotal time for the global health community as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stretch health systems, disrupting networks of care that support healthy pregnancies and safe childbirth. In a world where a woman dies every two minutes from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth – many from complications which are preventable – more work is needed across sectors to tackle this issue. Merck for Mothers will continue to focus efforts on countries where the need is great, including India, Nigeria, Kenya and the U.S., bringing on new collaborators and strategic investments that further scale the impact of the current 100+ programs across 50+ global sites.
At least $15 million of the new commitment will be dedicated to responding to the Biden-Harris Maternal Health Call to Action for a whole-of-society approach to addressing the U.S. maternal health crisis, building on the Safer Childbirth Cities initiative in the U.S. According to World Health Organization estimates, the U.S. is the only high-income country where maternal mortality is on the rise. With this new funding, Merck for Mothers will invest in grants and strategic collaborations that stimulate, advance and scale innovations to improve quality of care and reverse this trend. Efforts will be focused across a spectrum of approaches including but not limited to amplifying and scaling community-led interventions that eliminate racial health disparities around pregnancy and childbirth, supporting training opportunities for the perinatal health workforce and advancing standardized clinical care coupled with social and emotional support during the postpartum period.
“Today our company is proud to announce an additional $150 million commitment through Merck for Mothers with the goal of improving the maternal health and well-being of 25 million women by 2025,” said Rob Davis, chief executive officer and president, Merck. “Merck for Mothers and its partners have already reached more than 13 million women through its programs and I am proud to reaffirm our efforts to help create a healthier, more equitable society where no woman dies while giving life with this new pledge.”
“One of the hidden consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is its tragic impact on maternal health,” said Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, chief patient officer at Merck. “We are now applying what we’ve learned from our long-standing Merck for Mothers program to catalyze partnerships that help promote healthy pregnancy and address the needs of the women most affected by the pandemic.”
The details of specific grants and the opening of any calls for proposals will be the subject of future announcements. To learn more about Merck for Mothers, our work to foster innovative approaches to advance maternal health and our impact to date, please visit: MerckforMothers.com.