Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. That's nearly 800 women a day, the vast majority of them in developing countries.
Most of these deaths are preventable.
With the right tools and resources, conditions like severe bleeding (obstetric hemorrhage) and pregnancy-induced high blood pressure (preeclampsia/eclampsia) become treatable complications – not death sentences.
Women are the cornerstone of a healthy and prosperous world. When a mother survives pregnancy and childbirth, her family, community, and nation thrive.
It's a Global Issue
Safe and healthy motherhood touches us all, whether we live in the Great Lakes of East Africa or the Great Lakes of the U.S. Even in the most medically advanced nations, too many women die in pregnancy and childbirth. The disparities in maternal mortality between countries in the developed world and the developing world, however, are grave. 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries, 66% in sub-Saharan Africa and 22% in South Asia.
When a woman dies, the effects on her family are enormous: her baby is more likely to die before the age of two and her other children are up to 10 times more likely to leave school, suffer from poor health, or die prematurely. Families experiencing a maternal death spend more on funeral expenses than all other yearly expenses combined, including food, shelter, and education. But it's not just her family that suffers.
A woman's death also impairs her community. Her unpaid work contributes to economic life, accounting for as much as one-third of the world's gross national product. Women are also more likely to reinvest their earned income in essential family needs like food, education, and medicine.
Can you imagine a world where no mother dies giving birth? We can. That's the promise of Merck for Mothers. Working together with committed partners, we believe we can help make pregnancy and childbirth a safe, healthy, and joyful experience for women.
We are working to improve maternal health through innovative partnerships and programs in more than 30 countries, including India, Senegal, Uganda, the U.S., and Zambia.
Merck for Mothers, known as MSD for Mothers outside of the United States and Canada, is a 10-year $500 million initiative focused on improving the health and well-being of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth.
As a global healthcare company, Merck created Merck for Mothers to address this critically important issue. We are committed to using our business and scientific expertise to end preventable maternal mortality and are already working in more than 30 countries around the world.
Working closely with our program leadership, advisory board, governments, international organizations, health experts, and those on the front lines, we are helping women across the world be well.
New research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reveals that a considerable proportion of women seek maternal care from private health providers. Often overlooked, private doctors, nurses and midwives provide about 40% of antenatal care, delivery care and family planning services. We are committed to helping ensure that women have access to affordable, high quality services wherever they seek care.
There are many ways to get involved in the fight against maternal mortality. Learn more.