New Report “Improving Maternal Health Across Africa” Highlights the Current Maternity Care Needs in the Region

June 14, 2024 – Merck released a new report, “Improving Maternal Health Across Africa,” evaluating quality of care and efforts to enhance maternal health for all women across the continent with support from Merck for Mothers, the company’s global initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die while giving life.

According to the World Health Organization, the global maternal mortality rate declined by approximately 34% between 2000 and 2020, however, sub-Saharan Africa continues to account for nearly 70% of all maternal deaths. With maternal mortality persisting at an unacceptably high rate in this region, there are a variety of complex factors challenging sustained progress such as, limited access to quality health care, poor health care infrastructure, socioeconomic conditions and limited education and awareness surrounding maternal health.

Merck for Mothers has supported 47 programs that have reached nearly 8.3 million women in Africa through collaborations with organizations that hold a deep understanding of the populations needs and remain committed to integrating women’s voices into health care services and experiences. These efforts have placed a heightened focus on Kenya and Nigeria, two countries with maternal mortality rates that are among the highest in the world.

The programs supported in Africa are improving access to maternity care and advancing sexual and reproductive health, with a focus on catalyzing innovation and digital solutions for more efficient and effective care and empowering women through increased health literacy.

"We believe that strengthening health systems is critical to creating access to quality health care for all African women. Innovative thinking is required to bridge system gaps like the shortage in qualified health care professionals and limited access to quality medicines", says Iyadunni Olubode, Director of Nigeria Programs. "Our collaborations with non-governmental organizations, health care professionals, businesses, local and national governments who really listen to the needs of the women they serve, ensure the maternal health needs of these women are understood and met."

The examples included in this report demonstrates Merck’s dedication to advancing progress towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal on maternal mortality reduction.

To learn more about Merck for Mothers’ holistic approach to addressing the many factors impacting maternal health, read the full report here.