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Volume 2 – 2014

Merck for Mothers Welcomes New Advisory Board Members
We are delighted to announce the addition of two new members to Merck's Global Maternal Mortality Advisory Board: Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate of Duke University's Global Health Institute and former Minister of State for Health in Nigeria and Dr. Iain Barton, Managing Director of Imperial Health Sciences. As Advisory Board members, these esteemed global health professionals will provide invaluable input on our work and help guide the future of Merck for Mothers.

Merck Supports Study on Maternal Morbidity in New York City
Each year, more than 60,000 women across the U.S. experience a life-threatening complication related to pregnancy and childbirth. We are proud to announce our financial support of an independent surveillance project, conducted through a grant to the Fund for Public Health in New York, to understand why these life-threatening complications (severe maternal morbidities) are occurring in order to guide how they might be prevented in the future. This project is the first time a major city is formally reviewing the medical cases of women who nearly died and will also estimate the costs of maternal morbidities to New York City's health system—evidence that can support efforts to improve the quality of maternity care in the U.S.

Saving Mothers, Giving Life Launches Second Phase
After achieving promising first year results, Saving Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL) announced an expansion to six new districts in Uganda and 12 new districts in Zambia. In Phase 2, the initiative is expanding the SMGL model to new districts and scaling up low-tech interventions to improve newborn survival. Merck for Mothers will continue to support the initiative by strengthening the private health sector in Uganda and developing financially sustainable models of maternity waiting homes in Zambia. The newly released Phase 2 Launch Report provides a full update on the initiative's expansion plans.

Merck for Mothers Joins Panel of Experts to Shape the Post-2015 Agenda on Maternal Health
In July, Executive Director Dr. Priya Agrawal joined the Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality working group and leaders from the WHO, USAID, Jhpiego, and Family Care International on a panel at the PMNCH Partners' Forum to highlight efforts needed to sustain and accelerate reductions in maternal mortality after the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015. This group of distinguished maternal health experts discussed the comprehensive approach that is needed to end preventable maternal mortality – one that integrates the public and private health sectors to save women's lives. The discussion builds on the recently launched Every Newborn Action Plan to drive progress in maternal and newborn health in the post-2015 world.

Merck Leaders Advocate for Improved Maternity Care
Merck leaders are continuing to leverage their voice to help ensure governments, donors, global health leaders, and the general public stay focused on making maternal mortality a crisis of the past. In May, Merck Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Rosenblatt authored a piece on Merck for Mothers in the Harvard Business Review and team Lead Dr. Naveen Rao published a Mother's Day story highlighting our efforts to combat maternal mortality in the U.S.

In June, Executive Director Dr. Priya Agrawal and our U.S. partners spoke to an audience of more than 2,500 nurses at the 2014 AWHONN Convention about the need for evidenced-base care in managing and treating obstetric emergencies. The discussion, moderated by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, highlighted Merck for Mothers-supported work with hospitals beginning in five states with nearly one million births per year. One of our partners and AWHONN Vice President Dr. Debra Bingham stated, "Merck for Mothers has been a catalyst for improving the quality of maternity care in the U.S., and our projects have set the stage for national replication so that every woman, regardless of where she gives birth, can get the care she needs for a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery."

Thank you for your continued interest in Merck for Mothers. We look forward to updating you on new developments throughout the year!

Be Well,

The Merck for Mothers Team


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