Where a mother gives birth shouldn’t determine her chances of survival, nor should it be a factor in the health and survival of her child. Of course, these factors do matter—and in a dramatic way. Around 800 women die each day due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth. That’s one death every two minutes, with the vast majority of those deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. The Merck for Mothers initiative hopes to change that statistic.
Launched in 2011, Merck for Mothers, also known as MSD for Mothers, is a 10-year, $500 million initiative with the sole goal of “improving the health and well-being of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth.” It works in over 30 countries around the world and has gained powerful partners such as the Gates and U.N. foundations, as well as the global health nonprofits Jhpiego, Population Services International, and Pathfinder International.