Merck donates half a million dollars to combat maternal mortality in Haiti

Jennifer Chan, Vice-President, Communications and Policy, Merck Canada; Robert Beaudry, Executive Director, CCISD and Martine Bernier, Project Director of the PRISMA program in Haiti. (CNW Group/MERCK)

KIRKLAND, QC, Nov. 12, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Merck is pleased to announce a grant of $500,000 to the Centre de coopération internationale en santé et développement (Center for International Cooperation in Health and Development or CCISD) based in Quebec City. The donation is part of Merck for Mothers Global Giving Program which aims to support philanthropic organizations that are dedicated to improving maternal health and, ultimately, help reduce the number of women who die or suffer disabilities from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications. Approximately 20 projects were chosen around the world, including CCISD which will be directing the funds towards a maternal health project targeting the Artibonite communities of Anse Rouge, Terre Neuve and Ennery in Haiti.

"We are very pleased to be supporting CCISD's new program aimed at strengthening maternal health services in Haiti," said Cyril Schiever, President and Managing Director of Merck Canada Inc. "CCISD does impressive work around the world promoting both primary care and women's health and aligns perfectly with the objectives of the Merck for Mothers program, which is dedicated to creating a world where no woman has to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth."

The CCISD has been implementing international health projects for over 25 years. Starting in January 2013, they will direct the Merck for Mothers grant to a project complementary to their 'Integrated Management of Maternal and Child Health' program - also known as PRISMA - in the Artibonite region in Haiti. "Haiti has the highest maternal mortality rate in the northern hemisphere1. Funding to provide access to services and medical supplies is essential to help save lives in this country," said Robert Beaudry, Executive Director of CCISD. "Of all those burdened with the lack of access to proper healthcare, some of the saddest stories are about the preventable deaths of mothers and newborns."

According to Martine Bernier, Project Director of the PRISMA program in Haiti, "Only in the intervention area of the project that will be supported by the Merck for Mothers grant, over 1,600 women become pregnant every year. The cost and accessibility of prenatal and delivery services can be huge obstacles to Haitian mothers. This much-needed donation will help provide better access to services and, ultimately, lower the complications and mortality rates of women and newborns in this area."

About Merck for Mothers
Over the next decade, it is estimated that nearly three million women will die from complications due to pregnancy and childbirth globally. The majority of these deaths are preventable. When a woman dies, the ripple effect on families and communities is enormous. Her baby is more likely to die before the age of two and her other children are more likely to leave school, suffer from poor health, and die prematurely.

Merck for Mothers is a 10-year, half-billion-dollar initiative to create a world where no woman has to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Drawing on the company's history of discovering innovative, life-saving medicines and vaccines, Merck for Mothers is applying the company's scientific and business expertise to reduce maternal mortality around the world.

In order to achieve our goals, our approach focuses on three main pillars: product innovation, accelerating access to maternal health solutions and services, as well as advocacy and awareness.

The Merck for Mothers Global Giving Program will focus on helping countries reduce maternal mortality and improve maternal health with the overall aim of supporting the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5, which calls for a 75% reduction in maternal mortality and universal access to reproductive health by 2015.

For more information, please visit www.MerckforMothers.com

About Merck
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer and animal products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca.

Forward Looking Statement
This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger between Merck and Schering-Plough, including future financial and operating results, the combined company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical facts. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the possibility that all of the expected synergies from the merger of Merck and Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; Merck's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck's patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation and/or regulatory actions. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck's 2011 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site (www.sec.gov).

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1 Médecins sans frontières, 2012. MSF in Haiti. Accessible en ligne : [http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/country.cfm?id=6248&cat=country-page&ref=tag-index]
(consulté en octobre 2012)

Image with caption: "Jennifer Chan, Vice-President, Communications and Policy, Merck Canada; Robert Beaudry, Executive Director, CCISD and Martine Bernier, Project Director of the PRISMA program in Haiti. (CNW Group/MERCK)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121112_C7099_PHOTO_EN_20516.jpg

SOURCE: MERCK

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Media Contacts:
Ani Armenian 
Merck 
514-428-3395 
 
Valérie Diamant
CCISD
418-656-5525 ext. 8319     

Québec/Montréal
Sylvie Patry/Roch Landriault
418-648-1233 ext. 232/514-843-2345