Thinking Globally to Help Save Mothers Locally: Announcing the launch of the Strengthening Systems for Safer Childbirth Coalitions

Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced today the cohort of six coalitions in its Strengthening Systems for Safer Childbirth initiative, a new global initiative supporting locally driven solutions to accelerate impact in helping save women’s lives. Merck for Mothers is supporting local coalitions to overcome the specific maternal health challenges in their communities to accelerate progress towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) maternal mortality target. The initiative is a progressive step forward in improving maternal health through multisectoral coalitions implementing evidence-based solutions informed by the needs and preferences of women.

Coalition members span sectors and disciplines – from private health care providers to local entrepreneurs who bring innovation to service delivery. Located across India, Kenya, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, the Coalitions will lead activities that are informed by women’s needs and preferences and help to advance health equity by improving access to high-quality maternal health care for underserved or underrepresented groups. Brought together in a community of practice led by Accenture Development Partnerships, coalitions will share experiences, problem-solve collectively, deliver on intended results, demonstrate impact, achieve sustainability and amplify their learnings.

“We are proud to be leading the Community of Practice for Strengthening Systems for Safer Childbirth. The collaborative efforts of these six coalitions will contribute towards innovative solutions aimed at achieving sustained measurable improvements in maternal health,” said Natasha Sunderji, Accenture Development Partnerships, global health lead.

The initiative will leverage the successes from other Merck for Mothers programs including Safer Childbirth Cities, an initiative aimed at fostering community-led solutions to help U.S. cities become safer, more equitable places to give birth. Applying the critical learnings from that initiative, Strengthening Systems for Safer Childbirth aims to help women have greater access to sustainable solutions for high-quality, affordable, respectful care wherever they seek it most.

“Through Strengthening Systems for Safer Childbirth, we are investing in local people, actors, leaders, institutions, organizations in a way that supports a culture of collaboration and problem solving at the ground level, to instill a level of trust in people to solve problems in local communities,” said Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, AVP, health equity and lead, Merck for Mothers. “Women know best what they want and need so incorporating their perspectives is at the heart of everything that we do.”

For more information about the program and the individual coalitions, visit here.