“What keeps me going is the opportunity to make an impact in people’s lives. When you save the mother, you save the family.”

Dr. Naveen Rao Team Lead, MSD for Mothers

EUROPEAN UNION: more than 5 million women give birth each year, however 1 in 10 do not have access to maternal health services during the first months of pregnancy. 

EUROPE: Women from ethnic minority groups in Europe tend to have higher incidences of maternal mortality and worse health outcomes overall: LOW BIRTH WEIGHT (43%) + PRETERM DELIVERY (24%), PERINATAL MORTALITY (50%) + CONGENITAL MALFORMATIONS (61%)

In Europe, our goal is to partner with stakeholders and support programmes to promote equal access to quality maternal healthcare for all women across the region.


In collaboration with local offices, we are providing more than €3.6 million to support maternal health organisations that link pregnant women to care and raise awareness of safe motherhood practices both in Europe and in developing countries.


Väestöliitto is working with foster care organisations to promote sexual and reproductive health among young girls living within these institutions through educational events.


Ethno-Medical Center is implementing the MiMi-Initiative
for Maternal Health to reduce barriers to maternal healthcare among female migrant workers. The project is raising awareness of services and improving health professionals’ cultural and linguistic competence. To date, the initiative has reached 7,200 women and their families in Germany.


The British Pregnancy Advisory Service is leading a public awareness campaign in London, “As Soon as You’re Pregnant,” that encourages pregnant women to see a healthcare professional before the end of their first trimester. The campaign is helping women receive education on lifestyle factors such as diet, alcohol, and smoking to promote healthy pregnancies and improve newborn health. To date, 327 pharmacies and general practitioners, 113 retailers, and 125 children’s health centers in London are supporting the campaign.


Additionally, we are working with nine European NGOs in Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Rwanda, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland to advance maternal health in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. For example, Concern Worldwide (Ireland) is implementing community-based interventions to highlight the importance of seeking antenatal care that will reach up to 67,000 women in Malawi. Maternity Foundation (Denmark) is rolling out the Safe Delivery App, an innovative mHealth tool to enhance antenatal care and emergency obstetric care in Sub-Saharan Africa. The app has been developed in collaboration with researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the University of Southern Denmark. New research results show the health worker skills in handling most common complications such as postpartum haemorrhage and newborn resuscitation increased by more than 100% after 12 months of using the app. Medics without Vacation (Belgium) conducted 12 medical training missions to build the capacity of local health workers and increase access to second line maternal healthcare services among hospitals in South Kivu (DRC).

  • Belgium: Medics Without Vacation – programme in the DRC
  • Denmark: Maternity Foundation –programme in Ethiopia
  • Finland: Väestöliitto – programme in Finland
  • Germany: Ethno- Medizinisches Zentrum e.V – programme in Germany
  • Ireland: Concern Worldwide – programme in Malawi
  • Italy: Doctors with Africa Cuamm – programme in Ethiopia
  • Italy: Comunitá di S.Egidio ACAP Onlus – programme in Mozambique
  • Netherlands: Health[e] Foundation – programme in Rwanda
  • Spain: Organización Navarra Para Ayuda Entre Los Pueblos – programme in the DRC
  • Sweden: World Lung Foundation –programme in Tanzania
  • Switzerland: Swiss Tropical Public Health Institute – programme in Tanzania
  • U.K.: British Pregnancy Advisory Service – programme in the U.K.


Find out more about MSD for Mothers by visiting the official website