MSD for Mothers: Improving health outcomes in under-resourced economies

Developing a standardized, automated assessment tool to identify patient needs


Through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, MSD operates in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. MSD for Mothers, known as Merck for Mothers inside the United States and Canada, is a 10-year, $500 million initiative to reduce maternal mortality worldwide. This focused program applies MSD's scientific and business expertise – as well as its financial resources and experience – in taking on tough global healthcare challenges.

Using leading practices from Accenture Strategy Talent & Organization, Accenture Development Partnerships developed a comprehensive management assessment tool and recommended intervention outline consisting of:

  • Tool and process components

  • Competency building curriculum

  • Change adoption activities to improve the decision-making ability of clinicians in leadership positions.

Accenture Development Partnerships demonstrated that it is feasible and realistic to complete a management capability assessment in a low resource setting, and that significant capability gaps do exist among clinicians in leadership positions.



Of particular focus for development organizations and the maternal health community, is the high-risk area of Tanzania. Every hour in Tanzania, one woman dies from problems linked to pregnancy or childbirth.

Improvements in health facilities' capacity to deliver quality maternal and neonatal health services depends on having skilled professionals and an environment that includes the appropriate infrastructure and supplies, organization culture, leadership awareness and support. Strong leadership hinges on managers possessing sound clinical and management capabilities. While clinicians in leadership positions typically possess clinical skills, they often receive no formal management training. This can cause a gap in the management skills required for effective obstetric care delivery.


Using leading practices from Accenture Strategy Talent & Organization, Accenture Development Partnerships developed a comprehensive management assessment tool for MSD evaluating 17 management capabilities across operations, people and individual management areas. The assessment identified a number of management capability gaps.

As part of the pilot, Accenture Development Partnerships developed a recommended intervention outline that would improve the ability of clinicians in leadership positions to make decisions based on sound data. The team also defined in detail the intervention components, target participants, target region and a high-level deployment approach.

By focusing on sustainability during the development of the intervention (including components, audience and delivery approach), a solution was created that can be applied to other healthcare programs seeking to build management capabilities. The team established a successful model for collaboration, and demonstrated the potential benefits of bringing different collaborators across the private, public, and civil sectors together in calling this gap to the attention of Tanzania’s Ministry of Health & Social Work.