What We're Hearing
Our actions are guided by the voices of leading experts, including those on the front lines.
Our first commitment to addressing maternal mortality is to listen and learn. Merck has spoken with more than 150 experts from academic and research institutions, foundations, governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) around the world. The lessons we're learning will guide the choices that we make.
Reducing Maternal Mortality Is a Complex Issue
Despite attention as a Millennium Development Goal, maternal mortality remains one of the most challenging public health issues of our day. Efforts are often disparate and focus on country and community-specific factors. The women at highest risk are difficult to identify.
Promising Technologies Must be Developed and Made Accessible
Worthwhile technology needs to move through the pipeline. Many of these approaches are low-cost and could save lives today. A focused effort is needed to review these innovations to accelerate the process of moving them from bench-to-birth.
Expanding the Reach of Skilled Birth Attendants Is Critical
Products alone won't solve the problem unless there are qualified skilled birth attendants available to all women. Broad efforts are needed to recruit additional frontline health workers in areas of high need and to ensure that they are sufficiently skilled and empowered.
Family Planning Can Help Reduce Maternal Mortality
Family planning is an opportunity to make early and dramatic changes in reducing maternal mortality. That's why it's critical to provide women who wish to delay or avoid pregnancy with access to information and interventions that support family planning.
View Women as Active Partners
Women should be seen as active partners in developing community-based programming; more decision-making power should be put in their hands. Efforts need to be undertaken to assess women's interest in specific solutions and availability of quality services.
National Government Support Is Essential
National policies are needed to strengthen health systems and supply chains to ensure procurement and distribution of high-quality, low-cost technologies. Country-level alliances are essential to sustain long-term solutions, especially in the highest burden regions.
The Private Sector Is Needed — and Welcome
Private companies have a range of competencies and can help sustain efforts to address maternal mortality. The value of public-private partnerships is increasing as the number of private healthcare providers rises in the developing world.