Merck for Mothers announced the creation of a new global collaboration, Strengthening Systems for Safer Childbirth, to support collective action at the grassroots level to address the maternal health challenges and accelerate progress to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) maternal mortality target, committing $25 million in new funding.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched health systems and, according to some estimates, almost halted progress towards the maternal mortality SDG target, collaboration across sectors will be critical in the strengthening of networks of care that will support healthy pregnancies and safe childbirth for women across the globe. Strengthening Systems for Safer Childbirth will be an ambitious step forward in improving maternal health through multisectoral coalitions implementing evidence-based solutions informed by local community priorities.
Preference will be given to coalitions based in states, districts, counties or cities within these focus countries – Kenya, India and Nigeria – but other countries in sub-Saharan Africa will also be considered.
Each coalition of organizations submitting an Expression of Interest should consider how to:
- Integrate contributions from the local private sector – care providers, innovators and entrepreneurs – into health systems to augment health system capacity and improve maternal health outcomes
- Deploy scalable solutions that strengthen networks of care and directly address local health system challenges and gaps that prevent women from receiving safe, high-quality, coordinated and respectful care across the pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum continuum, regardless of where they seek care. This includes engaging sectors beyond health that affect health (e.g., WASH, education, gender, etc.)
- Collaborate and coordinate with government as well as help break down silos to create more resilient ecosystems for health
- Incorporate the expressed needs, recommendations and leadership of women and girls who are most at risk of maternal mortality and help to advance more equitable maternal health outcomes
- Unify and catalyze multistakeholder action to harness innovative approaches, shared learnings and best practices that improve maternal health outcomes
- Leverage additional sources of funding and creative financing models (e.g., pay for performance, blended financing, public-private partnerships) to support sustainability
- Merck for Mothers is able to provide funding to non-governmental and for-profit entities. Organizations may be headquartered in the U.S. or other countries but must have operations in the country selected for the Strengthening Systems for Safer Childbirth initiative. Preference will be given to lead organizations based in sub-Saharan Africa or Southeast Asia.
- The following activities and organizations are not eligible for Merck for Mothers funding support:
- Activities or organizations that directly influence or advance Merck’s business (commercial) or marketing interests, including purchase/influence of purchase of Merck products
- Political organizations, campaigns and activities
- Engagement/payments of government officials and government agencies (which in many cases could include hospital employees in government-run facilities)
- Payments/incentives/benefits going to health care providers or facilities (including teaching hospitals)
- Major infrastructure improvements
- Purchase of supplies or equipment unrelated to this project or program
- Direct clinical care and purchase of pharmaceutical products
- Payment of staff salaries or other costs not involved in this project or program
- Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age, national origin, veteran’s status or disability
- Robust governance and final controls, including two years of audited financial statements
For more information, visit https://www.merckformothers.com/strengthening-systems-for-safer-childbirth.html