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Perspectives on Maternal Health

Insights and additional information from our maternal health experts.

Leading a Global Coalition of Mothers Dedicated to Social Good

Jennifer James, December 4, 2017

I am a mother of two – my daughters are 19 and 16 – and when I was preparing to give birth, I read a lot about maternal health. I wanted to make sure that I was healthy enough and that I did all the things I needed to do, not only to stay safe and healthy for myself, but for my children.


Pregnant and On the Run: We Must Do Better To Protect Refugees On Their Journeys To Motherhood

Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, Executive Director, for Mothers, November 17, 2017

This article was originally published on November 15 to HuffingtonPost.com.


The Traveling Doctor Dedicated to Uplifting Women

Dr. Nita Landry, November 6, 2017

For me, maternal care means providing moms with all the essential tools they need to have a happy and healthy pregnancy. This includes not only quality prenatal care, but also providing moms with anything else they need, from emotional support to information regarding financial assistance.


Improving Maternal Health Through Evidence-Based Programs

Dr. Amy Crockett, October 16, 2017

Birth is such a powerful transition. When a woman becomes a mother, it's such an important time in her life. By positively impacting that moment—improving her health and impacting outcomes for the baby—you can change the trajectory of both their lives and the family as a whole.


FOR ALL MOTHERS: Bridging the Quality and Equity Gaps in Maternal Health Care

Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, Executive Director, for Mothers, October 2, 2017

While we have seen global maternal deaths drop by 44% since 1990, women are still dying from preventable causes during pregnancy and childbirth – and not just in low and middle-income countries that lack resources.


A Conversation with Lynsey Addario

Lynsey Addario and Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, September 25, 2017

An important part of our mission at Merck for Mothers is to draw attention to the urgent issues affecting maternal health for women; to help raise awareness and to deepen our own understanding of what women need not just to survive pregnancy and childbirth, but to thrive.


Inside the Life of a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Barb Dehn, August 31, 2017

I started my career in pediatric intensive care. Seeing some really difficult conditions that children had to deal with in that environment led me to want to want to work in prevention.


The Host Shining a Light on Maternal Health Around the World

Ivy Prosper, August 10, 2017

I was the host and roving reporter for a television series that aired in Ghana and parts of West Africa called The Maternal Health Channel Television Series. We traveled across the country documenting stories of women who had either lost their lives or suffered complications during childbirth.


Closing Critical Gaps in Family Planning: What I Learned from Three Youth Champions

Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, Executive Director, for Mothers, July 12, 2017

This article was originally published on July 11 to HuffingtonPost.com.


One Man’s Sense of Duty to Help End Maternal Mortality

Matt Logelin, June 16, 2017

In 2008, my wife, Liz, was pregnant and we were looking forward to having our first child, our daughter Madeline. I was incredibly excited about becoming a father. Like many soon-to-be parents, I was nervous, too.


Mother. Media Veteran. Voice for the Voiceless.

Julie Gichuru, May 30, 2017

Personally, my first two pregnancies were normal and easy. Then I went into my third, fourth and fifth, and each of those pregnancies were wrought with challenges. If it wasn't for healthcare workers, nurses, hospital facilities and my doctor, I don't believe that I would be alive today. It hit me hard that I was privileged to have this access. If I did not have this access, as many don't, I may have died and wouldn't have been there for my children.


Taking Quality Improvement to the Next Level: How Our "Golden" Public-private Partnership is Advancing Maternal Health Care in India and Providing Lessons for Other Countries

Dr. Hema Divakar, April 17, 2017

Many travelers to India, my home country, seek out the "golden triangle" that is Delhi, Agra and Jaipur – three distinct destinations, each place offering something different and beautiful and essential to the visitor's experience.


Reflections From My First 100 Days at MSD For Mothers

Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, Executive Director, MSD for Mothers, March 21, 2017

A few weeks into my new role as Executive Director for MSD for Mothers I found myself front row and center at the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, a proud moment for MSD and our 10-year, $500 million initiative to end preventable maternal deaths. It was at Davos that we announced our $10 million commitment to the Global Financing Facility (GFF), a multi-stakeholder partnership hosted by the World Bank that finances country-led efforts to improve maternal and child health.


Financing Healthy Futures to Meet the SDGs

Mariam Claeson, Director of the Global Financing Facility, February 16, 2017

This article was originally published on Feb. 8 to Devex.com.


Stronger Together: Building Capacity and Creating Networks to Improve Maternal Care in India

Dr. Mahesh Srinivas, Director of Programs, Pathfinder International (India) and Chandrashekhar Joshi, General Manager, World Health Partners, January 19, 2017

When Sunita, a 23-year-old woman from the village of Sajethi in Uttar Pradesh, India, became pregnant with her third child, she went to the nearest public health center. She was registered and asked to return during her second trimester when she would receive immunizations.


Addressing Maternal Health in Europe Takes All of Us

Jacqueline Bowman - Busato, Policy Lead, the Alliance for Maternal Health Equality, November 16, 2016

Globally, Europe's healthcare model is often viewed positively, perceived to be streamlined and highlighted as an example of what "good" looks like.


Ensuring Quality in Private Maternity Care

Dr. Naveen Rao, MSD for Mothers, Hema Divakar, FOGSI; Frank Kaharuza, AOGU; Bulbul Sood, Jhpiego India, October 13, 2016

One of the most challenging areas of maternal health is measuring, improving and assuring quality of care.


Improving Maternal Healthcare for the Most Disadvantaged Women

Dr. Naveen Rao, Lead, MSD for Mothers, September 1, 2016

With so much conflict and upheaval in the world right now, it’s women—especially pregnant women—who are facing some of the most devastating consequences of war and recession.


Enhancing the Management Capabilities of Ministries of Health to Reduce Maternal Mortality

Kathy Korsen, Director, Learning & Development and MSD for Mothers Ambassador, August 1, 2016

As a MSD for Mothers Ambassador, I am always looking for ways where I can personally make a difference in the important work that our company is focused on to improve the health and well-being of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth.


In Zambia, a Maternity Waiting Home Takes Shape

Scott Higgins, Director of Operations, MSD for Mothers, July 1, 2016

Back in April, I joined a fact-finding mission to Zambia, where MSD for Mothers is supporting the construction of 12 maternity waiting homes. Representatives from each of our Zambia partners were there: Africare and Boston University, the two NGOs overseeing the building projects, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The ELMA Foundation, the two private donor organizations helping us fund the program.


The Second Time Around

Ryan Hansen, June 1, 2016

The statistics surrounding maternal mortality in the United States in 2016 are frightening. Although the global number of maternal deaths has decreased by 44% since 1990, the number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth in the U.S. has increased during the same time period.


Keeping All Options Open: How the Private Sector Helped Senegal Address its Market Challenges for Family Planning and Bring Back Choice to Women

Dr. Priya Agrawal, Executive Director, MSD for Mothers, April 28, 2016

For many women in the developing world, pregnancy is a high-risk proposition. Phrases meaning "I am pregnant" that are commonly used in Ethiopia and other countries with exceptionally high maternal mortality literally translate to "I have one foot in the grave."


Mothers of the World - Shining a Spotlight on Maternal Health

Dr. Priya Agrawal, Executive Director, MSD for Mothers, April 21, 2016

At the Women in the World Summit in New York City in early April, as I listened to business leaders and advocates and human rights activists lay bare the many struggles facing women today, I noted a common theme linking almost every story and message: mothers and motherhood. So many of the individuals I encountered at the event, women who have dedicated their lives and careers to combatting inequity, injustice and deprivation, cited their own mothers as their motivating force, or their role as parents seeking to build a better future for their children and their communities.


The SDGs Have Been Adopted and the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health Has Been Launched – Now What?

Dr. Naveen Rao, Lead, MSD for Mothers, February 10, 2016

Earlier this fall, leaders from 193 nations convened in New York City for the U.N. General Assembly to ratify the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the latest international effort to eliminate poverty and disease by 2030. The SDGs provide a framework for saving and improving the lives of billions of people around the world, including the nearly 300,000 women who still die every year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal mortality is prioritized under SDG 3.1, which calls for a global reduction in the maternal mortality ratio to 70 deaths per 100,000 live births – a sharp decline from the current ratio of 210.