A startling figure indeed when we say that around the globe, a lady dies every 2 minutes, due to complications arising from childbirth and pregnancy. However, the fact remains that most of the situations are preventable, and to be exact Pharmaceutical major Merck has given it all in the last decade to be the change. They have spent a whopping $500 million through an initiative known as Merck for Mothers that began in 2011, which is pledging another $150 million to the cause which also includes $15 million that is solely supporting maternal health gamut, particularly in the US.
This move also comes after Merck detached itself from the women’s health unit called Organon the last summer. Due to the latest investment, Merck seems to aim to take stock of worsening health care inequalities, especially in maternal health during the pandemic, and thereby elevate the prenatal health services among 25 million women through 2025. And to be expansive, the latest rounds of funding shall again be filtered into countries with the greatest needs like the US, India, Nigeria, and Kenya.
In December, at the time of Maternal Health Day of Action, VP Kamala Harris challenged all the three, public, private as well as nonprofit sectors to join hands against the maternity mortality crisis, which according to her is a growing concern in the US even as the rates are dropping elsewhere. It is predicted that Merck’s thrust into Biden-Harris Maternal CTA will develop its $20 million initiative on Safer Childbirth Cities. The program has already passed over a $1 million grant for each of the 20 community-based partnerships which have already begun their push towards working for at-risk women.
As it happened in the initiative before, the funding will be focused on inequalities in health that exist in communities where maternal mortality rates are higher. It is well to be noted that in the US, Black women are two-three times more likely to die of pregnancy complications and childbirth as compared to white women. In New York, for example, black women are almost 12 times more likely to succumb to complications than white women.