Read the full press release from Merck here.

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced today a commitment to strengthen health systems affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through Merck for Mothers, the company’s global initiative to help end preventable maternal deaths, the company will provide $3 million to help health systems better meet the needs of pregnant women before, during and following delivery while tackling COVID-19.

“Our goal in establishing Merck for Mothers in 2011 was to advance the quality of maternal health care and improve access to care during one of the most critical moments in a woman’s life,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. “That call to action for us is even stronger in the midst of the pandemic. That is why we are increasing our efforts to strengthen the capacity of our health care systems to support these women.”

“Our health systems and heroic health care providers are fully focused on COVID-19, but childbirth will not wait for the pandemic to ease,” said Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, chief patient officer at Merck. “We are eager to partner with our many collaborators working to help end maternal mortality to provide enhanced care to pregnant women and new mothers at this crucial time for them, and this crucial time for us as a society.”

Merck for Motherswilldirect investments to efforts in the U.S. and globally in countries impacted by COVID-19 to help address maternal health challenges that are arising as a result of the pandemic. Proposals will be considered on an invitation-only basis.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Merck is focused on protecting the safety of its employees and their families, ensuring that our supply of medicines and vaccines reach our patients, contributing our scientific expertise to the development of antiviral approaches, and supporting our healthcare providers and our communities. Merck has also launched a program to enable our medically trained employees to volunteer their time to aid their communities while maintaining their base pay.

The $3 million in program funding from Merck for Mothers adds to Merck’s support for global, national and local relief efforts. With this commitment from Merck for Mothers, Merck has contributed or committed more than $11 million to COVID-19 relief efforts thus far. This support has included donations of medicines, protective personal equipment (PPE) donations for health care providers and funding to relief organizations, including the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the World Health Organization and to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation Emergency Response Fund.

To learn more about how our company is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.merck.com.