PADF and Merck Launch Digital Data Platform on Maternal Mortality

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Worldwide, a woman dies every two minutes due to complications from
pregnancy or childbirth. In an effort to reduce maternal mortality
rates, the Pan
American Development Foundation (PADF)
 partnered with the
pharmaceutical company Merck to
carry out a two-year initiative in Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia under
the Mothers Global Giving program.

Though the 2002 Millennium Declaration sought to improve maternal
health, women continue to die at unacceptable rates, according to the
United Nations. With a two-year, $500,000 grant from Merck, PADF
examined the challenges related to data collection on maternal mortality
in Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico. The result was the development of an
electronic toolkit that serves as a clearinghouse for information on
maternal mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean. Data is available
to the public on

“A world in which mothers can see their children grow and enjoy their
childhood is a real possibility if we achieve the prevention of the
hundreds of deaths that occur after giving birth,” says Caterina
Valero, PADF Senior Programs Director
. “Beyond the loss for the
child, the death of a mother leaves a legacy of death and poverty.
Orphaned children are two times more likely to die before age two and
ten times more likely to quit school. This perpetuates the cycle of

The goal of the No Mas Huérfanos (No More Orphans) platform is to inform
national and regional policies in an effort to improve health care for
millions of women. It also aims to share best practices on data
collection, strategies for intervention and to encourage international
interest and collaboration on the issue.

Despite vast differences in culture and geographic location, the results
from the three pilot countries highlights the impact of social factors
on a woman’s health. Our data shows that poverty, access to potable
water, education, health care, and gender violence all directly
correlate to a woman’s risk-level during pregnancy and as a result of

“Beyond the statistical data, it also reflects the vulnerable conditions
of women and their children, regarding the social determinants that
affect the occurrence of maternal deaths,” says Esther Liliana Cuevas,
subdirector of the National Institute of Health of Colombia’s Secure
Motherhood Team. “It informs and qualifies better decision making and
actions that promote safer motherhood for women and greater welfare for

In each country, PADF consulted with local experts on maternal health.
In Mexico, PADF collaborated with Observatorio
de Mortalidad Materna de México
; in Argentina we worked with Instituto
de Efectividad Clínica y Sanitaria
; and in Colombia, PADF partnered

About PADF

PADF is a nonprofit foundation and part of the Organization of American
States that was established in 1962 to put comprehensive socioeconomic
development programs into practice for marginalized people, with the
goal of strengthening groups of society and the civil community in
support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to help victims of
natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2013, PADF helped more
than 10.2 million people in 22 countries. Headquartered in Washington
D.C., PADF has representation in Haiti, Colombia, Suriname, Honduras and
Belize, and has projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.

About Merck for Mothers

Merck for Mothers has more than 50 projects in 30 countries around the
world. Our major programs are based in five countries: India, Senegal,
Uganda, the U.S., and Zambia, where our goal is to test innovative
models that expand women’s access to affordable, quality care with the
potential to be scaled and sustained. Additionally, in 2012 we launched
the Global Giving Program—our corporate grants initiative through which
our offices around the world can support eligible nonprofits working to
improve maternal health—designed to be responsive to local needs and
extend our reach in many more countries across the globe.


Pan American Development Foundation
Hearly G. Mayr
Director of
Communications and Public Affairs