It’s that time of year again, Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate your mother, grandmother and children. A day to remember when you gave birth to your children. A day to celebrate life.
However, what many people don’t know is that every 90 seconds another mother loses her life as a result of complications during pregnancy or childbirth. While the majority of these women are in developing countries (primarily sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia), certain communities in the United States and other developed nations are suffering as well. In fact, in the United States, maternal death rates doubled between 1990 and 2008 and the nation now ranks 39th in the world.
As a mother, it’s so difficult to learn that an estimated that 1,000 women die every day during pregnancy or childbirth. That’s 350,000 women and children each year that are unable to celebrate Mother’s Day.
A mother’s death in her journey to give life is a heartbreaking tragedy that tears apart families and communities. It should never happen. But there is hope. Experts estimate that 90% of these deaths are preventable. Maternal Mortality is the oldest and most preventable ongoing medical tragedy on the planet today. While scientific advances have eliminated global pandemics that have plagued the planet for millennia, women around the globe still die from childbirth from the same causes as they did at the dawn of time.
This is a world-wide problem that the United Nations set as one of their Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The UN has a goal of reducing maternal deaths by 75% in targeted regions by 2015. Merck has joined this effort to help create a world where no woman has to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, beginning with a 10-year, $500-million initiative on behalf of the Merck for Mothers (links to www.MerckForMothers.com) initiative. Merck for Mothers is a long-term effort to speed life saving solutions to women across the globe.
The initiative focuses on the two leading causes of maternal mortality (excessive and uncontrolled bleeding after childbirth, known as post-partum hemorrhage and life-threatening high blood pressure during pregnancy, known as pre-eclampsia) as well as family planning, which plays an important role in reducing maternal mortality.