Despite tremendous progress in maternal health over the past two decades, over 270 million women and girls worldwide still have little or no access to essential, maternal health and contraception services.

They face violence and displacement, are delayed from seeking quality care, and suffer maternal complications and preventable deaths—resulting in enormous loss for families and communities all over the world.

As a global healthcare company, Merck created Merck for Mothers (known as MSD for Mothers outside the United States and Canada). The 10-year, $500 million flagship initiative’s mission is to save lives and improve the health and well-being of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth by leveraging Merck’s business and scientific capabilities. After just five years, Merck for Mothers has improved access to quality maternal healthcare and contraception services for over 6 million women in over 30 countries around the world.

Accenture Development Partnerships (“Accenture”) first partnered with Merck for Mothers to assist the organization in developing a comprehensive management assessment tool to help identify a number of management capability gaps. As Merck for Mothers looked towards the future, the organization once again engaged Accenture to help refresh its overall strategy and approach. The challenge was to reach more women, save more lives and take impact to scale.

"Accenture not only helped us bring discipline and creativity to the process of shaping our strategy, their approach laid the foundation for critical buy-in."

– DR. MARY-ANN ETIEBET, Lead and Executive Director, Merck for Mothers

Strategy and Solution

To develop the updated Merck for Mothers Strategy, Accenture developed a three-phased approach and consulted with approximately 40 key stakeholders including executives across Merck business, the Merck for Mothers Advisory Board and strategic external partners.


To explore new ways of driving impact, the joint project team created an aspirational vision of what was possible—and what Merck for Mothers would be known for.


The team defined the “big bets” for the next chapter of the organization and aligned on a strategic framework for Merck for Mothers' path to impact.


Accenture recommended next steps to operationalize the updated strategy and developed a refreshed business case framework for the business and social impact of Merck for Mothers.

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The updated Merck for Mothers Strategy seeks to carefully examine Merck for Mothers’ unique role and value in the global health ecosystem —especially considering the differentiated business and scientific expertise of Merck. It aims to galvanize a multiplier effect in impact through partnership so that mothers have access to quality maternal health care and modern contraception wherever they seek care. Specifically, the Strategy highlighted several key changes:

  • Strengthening Local Private Providers to Serve Total Health Response
  • Make Bigger Bets on Quality of Care and Access to Modern Contraception
  • Caring for Women Throughout Pregnancy
  • Geographical Focus
  • Bring Even More of Merck’s Expertise and Invention to Create Impact for Mothers

The updated Strategy aims to inspire, energize and provide a clear path forward for the next five years of Merck for Mothers’ commitment to saving lives and improving the health and well-being of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth. It serves as an important guide and step forward to accelerate Merck for Mothers’ impact on ending preventable maternal deaths. Together with partners and guided by the approaches described in the Strategy, Merck for Mothers will embark on its next chapter towards ensuring "A world where no woman dies giving life."

Meet the team

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