Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced today that Colombian nongovernmental organization Sinergias is the inaugural recipient of the Kenneth C. Frazier Award for Maternal Health Equity, in recognition of the organization’s exemplary commitment to more equitable, high-quality maternal health care in the country. The annual award was created earlier this year to honor the legacy of Kenneth C. Frazier, executive chairman and former CEO of Merck, who championed the advancement of equitable maternal health outcomes and called for pregnancy and childbirth to be safe for all. The award is being granted through Merck for Mothers, Merck’s global initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die while giving life.
Sinergias focuses on strengthening the local health system in Colombia by improving access to respectful, high-quality and culturally relevant maternal health care services that center women as key actors in their communities’ health systems. Working in the most hard-to-reach areas of the country, the organization co-creates solutions with indigenous and rural communities to address inequities in maternal health outcomes. With the award, Sinergias will work hand-in-hand with health professionals and community health workers to pilot and scale maternal health quality improvement efforts for underserved communities across the country.
The announcement of the award recipient comes at an important time for the company as it celebrates the 10 year anniversary of Merck for Mothers, the resulting decade of progress to help end maternal mortality and its continued commitment to maternal health. The award is one example of Merck for Mothers’ continued efforts to advance improved birth outcomes for all and power locally led solutions that provide respectful, high-quality care to women in underserved communities.
“Kenneth C. Frazier made an indelible mark on health systems around the world with his fight for social justice and commitment to using the power of the private sector to create public good,” said Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, lead, Merck for Mothers. “Awarding Sinergias the Kenneth C. Frazier Award for Maternal Health Equity advances this legacy as we work together as a global community to improve and save lives in the communities that need it most.”
“We’re incredibly proud of the last ten years of progress by Merck for Mothers in Latin America where to date we have reached 650,000 women with 15 programs in 10 countries across the region,” said Tyrone Brewer, president, Latin America Human Health, Merck. “It’s organizations like Sinergias that bring us one step closer to creating a world where pregnancy and childbirth are safe for all.”
“Winning this award is a great honor for us, but above all, it is a recognition and a wake-up call to the importance of working with people to adapt health care services in marginalized and diverse communities. Likewise, this recognition is highlighting the need to improve access to quality services by strengthening local capacities to improve health in a sustainable way,” said Pablo Montoya, General Director of Sinergias.