Giving Birth In Nigeria
In 2017, there were 67,000 maternal deaths in Nigeria, more than any other country on earth, and 23% of the global total. Nigeria has a maternal health crisis so severe as to prompt federal authorities to declare a state of emergency. I am a mother myself. I was fortunate to have received quality care when I gave birth to my own daughters. But too many women in Nigeria are not getting the care they need and deserve during pregnancy and childbirth.
Most of these maternal deaths in Nigeria are preventable. Change is possible, as highlighted within this report in the significant reductions catalyzed through focused, collective action.
This is why MSD created MSD for Mothers. As a global pharmaceutical company, MSD has a nearly 130-year-old legacy of solving global health challenges. Founded in 2011, MSD for Mothers is our company’s US$500 million initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die giving life. We work in 48 countries around the world to improve the health and well-being of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. Our mission is to help push forward innovative and sustainable solutions that reduce maternal mortality.
MSD for Mothers does not accept business as usual. We challenge assumptions. We ask the tough questions. We push ourselves and our collaborators to invest in creative and sustainable ideas that are women-centered and disrupt the status quo.
We’ve committed to ending preventable maternal deaths in Nigeria, not only because of the country’s high burden of maternal mortality, but also because we are optimistic about the tremendous potential of Nigeria’s local private health sector, which serves more than 60% of the population, to help solve the problem and sustain gains in women’s health for years to come.
Since 2015, working with the government and through Nigerian-led collaboration, we are pursuing new approaches to strengthen the health system and support national health priorities so that no woman has to die while giving life.
There’s a favorite Nigerian expression: “Naija no dey carry last” — we must persevere, together, to reach our goals. Let’s heed that call in maternal health, so that all mothers, their children, families, communities and the nation may prosper.
Nigeria Director, MSD for Mothers