Merck for Mothers

Celebrates Progress in Fight to Reduce Maternal Mortality at Women in the World Summit

I hope my clinic will be seen as a model maternity home in my country (Uganda).

- private midwife Mary Gorret Musoke, inspired by the healthcare and business trainings that she's received with support from Merck for Mothers

For the fourth year in a row, Merck for Mothers took to the stage to shine a global spotlight on the importance of access to quality maternal health at the Women in the World Summit – an annual event that brings together leaders and advocates from around the world to advance women and girls through stories and solutions.

A panel of maternal health champions discussed the most common causes of maternal death and emphasized the dramatic advances that have been made to improve maternal health.

Inspiring personal stories from maternal health workers in the field, entrepreneurs and advocates illuminated the creative ways challenges are being met to help make pregnancy and childbirth a safe, healthy and joyful experience for women.

The panel, "Birthing New Solutions to End Maternal Mortality," was moderated by Alyse Nelson, Vital Voices' president and CEO, and featured panelists: Liya Kebede, maternal health advocate, model and founder of the Liya Kebede Foundation; Ivy Prosper, host of the Ghana TV series "The Maternal Health Channel;" Zubaida Bai, founder of AYZH, which develops health products designed to reduce maternal and infant mortality in underprivileged communities around the world; and Mary Gorret Musoke, founder of the Maria Maternity Ward and president of the Uganda Private Midwives Association.


Since 1990, maternal mortality has nearly been cut in half globally, thanks to a variety of efforts, approaches and advocates. But there is still work to be done. Maternal mortality remains too big and complex an issue for one sector to shoulder alone – it requires a coordinated effort among the government, nonprofits, and the private health sector.

Through Merck for Mothers, we’re committed to bringing fresh thinking to the age-old problem of maternal mortality. We’ve partnered with local communities to explore how the private health sector can be leveraged to strengthen the overall health system, and to overcome common barriers to care such as cost, transportation and limited supplies. Whether through designing maternity waiting homes in Zambia, introducing telemedicine in India, empowering health providers with new skills, tools and technology in the United States, or developing an innovative supply chain model for modern contraceptives in Senegal, we are constantly working to ensure that women receive affordable, quality care wherever they seek it.




Globally, Merck for Mothers has made significant strides over the past five years. Working with more than 75 partners in 30 countries, we have helped provide more than 5 million women with better access to quality maternal healthcare.

We are investing in two areas we believe will have the greatest impact on ending preventable maternal deaths, especially in countries with the highest maternal mortality burden:

  • Improving the quality of care women receive in health facilities at the time of childbirth
  • Improving access to high-quality modern contraceptives

While we have made great progress, we must continue to explore innovative ways to create a world where no woman dies giving life.

Join us to raise awareness and help #EndMaternalMortality once and for all.