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Volume 1, 2014

Merck CEO Discusses Breakthroughs in the Fight Against Maternal Mortality at Women in the World
For the second year in a row, Merck for Mothers raised awareness of maternal mortality as a proud supporter of the Women in the World summit in April. Merck Chairman and CEO Ken Frazier participated in a panel moderated by journalist Soledad O’Brien on the latest advances against maternal mortality in developing nations and in the U.S. Attendees were asked to help in the fight to ensure a healthy pregnancy by making sure loved ones “have a PEP Talk” with their doctors and/or healthcare professionals about potential pregnancy complications associated with the three leading causes of maternal death in the U.S. Merck also announced an exciting new collaboration with Ferring Pharmaceuticals and the World Health Organization. To learn more about this partnership, read our press release here.

Merck for Mothers Unveils Inaugural Program Report
The Merck for Mothers team is excited to share the initiative’s first program report—an update on our efforts to reduce maternal mortality in 30 countries around the world. The report outlines the many partnerships and programs underway as we design and test maternal health solutions that can achieve broad scale. Merck for Mothers is now working with nearly 75 partners on more than 50 projects across the globe.

Impressive Results for First Year of Saving Mothers, Giving Life
Saving Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL) issued its first annual report, which showcased robust data on the partnership’s impressive progress in improving maternal health after just one year. Most notably, the maternal mortality ratio declined by 30% in pilot districts in Uganda and 35% in pilot facilities in Zambia. Merck for Mothers and fellow SMGL partners presented these results in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies at a special event in Washington, D.C. Leaders from the U.S., Ugandan, and Zambian governments, including USAID Administrator Raj Shah and CDC Director Tom Frieden, lauded the initiative’s remarkable results. Media coverage of the year-one findings appeared in the Christian Science Monitor and Global Post, among other outlets. 

MSD for Ugandan Mothers Program Celebrates One-Year Anniversary
We are glad to report that the MSD for Ugandan Mothers Program – led by PACE, Population Services International’s local affiliate – has made impressive strides in improving access to affordable, quality care. In year one, we supported our partners to expand their network of private family planning clinics to nearly 40 new clinics, train more than 80 health providers in essential maternal healthcare, and work with 120 pharmacies to improve access to maternal health supplies. Additionally, more than 120 Maama Ambassadors (community health workers) have reached more than 7,600 women to date, providing critical linkages to care, financing, and transport across seven districts in Uganda.

Merck for Mothers Joins Leading Voices in Maternal Health
In March, Executive Director Dr. Priya Agrawal co-authored an article published in the Lancet Global Health on the role of local private providers in delivering quality maternal healthcare services and participated in an interview with NextBillion about our partnership with the Merrygold Health Network in India. In honor of International Women’s Day, team Lead Dr. Naveen Rao highlighted the role of men in advancing maternal health as part of UN Women's HeforShe campaign.

We also participated in the Best Buys in Global Health event, where Director of Product Innovation Dr. Jim Cunningham joined a panel discussion on maternal health technologies and Dr. Rao spoke with PSI’s Impact Magazine about smart investments in maternal health.

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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