We are pleased to update you on the recent progress of Merck for Mothers.
First Round of Grants from Global Giving Program
As part of the Merck for Mothers Global Giving Program, we are issuing an initial set of grants valued at more than $9 million to support 22 innovative projects to improve maternal health in 18 countries as diverse as Lebanon, Malawi, and Peru.
Saving Mothers, Giving Life Site Visits
Members of the Saving Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL) team recently traveled to four SMGL districts in Uganda and two in Zambia where they met with more than 20 implementing partners and organizations. They visited level II, III, and IV public health centers, private facilities, faith-based hospitals, and maternity waiting homes to see work underway and inform plans for future program strategies. During these visits, the team met with local health workers and even had the chance to see women's lives saved during EmOC procedures. One Ugandan health worker commented that SMGL is one of the most significant things to happen in his district: "catalytic renovations through SMGL have contributed to meaningful improvements in service delivery." We look forward to providing updates as SMGL progresses in 2013.
New Report on Role of Private Providers in Maternal and Child Health
One of the core elements of our strategy is to support local private health providers and businesses in delivering quality, affordable care to women in need. Over the past year, Merck has worked with NORAD – The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation – to develop Fostering Healthy Businesses: Delivering Innovations in Maternal and Child Health, a report published in September by the UN Secretary-General's Every Woman, Every Child initiative. We hope that the report's findings and recommendations will highlight the under-examined role of private health providers and strengthen their ability to help governments reach Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.
Raising Awareness of Maternal Mortality
As many of you have told us, awareness of maternal mortality as a serious global health problem is low, especially among the general public. That's why we have launched a public awareness campaign with a pilot program beginning in the United States called "Once Upon a Birth." The campaign features inspiring and touching moments of "birth stories" as a way to educate Americans on the importance of maternal health. It has the opportunity to reach millions of people through digital as well as traditional media. We invite you to participate by sharing a birth story on the Merck for Mothers Facebook page.
UN General Assembly Week 2012: New Ways to Accelerate MDG Progress
We marked the first anniversary of the launch of Merck for Mothers by supporting two events during UN General Assembly week, both highlighting core elements of our strategy – product innovation and the role of private providers in improving maternal health care. We co-hosted a thought-provoking panel discussion with PATH on how new health technologies can save women's lives during pregnancy and childbirth in some of the poorest regions of the world. The event featured an exhibit showcasing a wide range of technological innovations. Merck also collaborated with Women Deliver and Family Care International on an event that drew attention to the role local health providers and health businesses can play in expanding access to affordable, quality maternal care in countries with high rates of maternal mortality.
Request for Proposals for Programs in Zambia
We have issued a Request for Proposals for programs in Zambia that aim to expand access to affordable, high-quality care and help establish models for care that are both effective and long-lasting. In particular, Merck for Mothers is seeking proposals for research into new models for maternity waiting homes to provide high-quality services that respond to community needs and are financially sustainable.