Though maternal mortality has declined globally over the past decade, there are many communities around the world that continue to be disproportionately affected. In many countries, unacceptable and inequitable maternal health outcomes persist. A long history of structural discrimination and unequal access to health care, as well as the underlying social determinants of health, are some of the key factors that contribute to these inequities.
Around the world, visionary leaders and community-based organizations are creating a path to a better world where maternal health outcomes are more equitable, and pregnancy and childbirth are safer. They are helping to create a world where prenatal visits, labor and delivery and postpartum encounters for the first year after childbirth contribute to healthier maternal health outcomes.
In 2021, for Mothers, ’s $650 million global initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die while giving life, launched the Kenneth C. Frazier Award for Maternal Health Equity. This annual award was created in recognition of the legacy and commitment to maternal health by Kenneth C. Frazier, executive chairman of the board and former chief executive officer, . Every year, the grant award is bestowed upon one organization in recognition of its commitment to and progress toward more equitable, high-quality maternal health care.
The 2022 recipient of the Kenneth C. Frazier award for Maternal Health Equity is Mali Health, an organization based in Bamako, Mali. When Mali Health was created in 2006, they worked to identify the barriers that prevent women and children from accessing quality health care in their region, and today the organization develops and implements solutions to address those barriers. Mali Health’s comprehensive program helps women prepare for birth by connecting them to health information, to the midwives at their health centers, and to each other. With the award, Mali Health will extend the program’s impact in a way that is equitable and sustainable, and put the program in the hands of the women and the communities it serves by piloting community-led approaches.
“The Mali Health team is deeply grateful to receive the Kenneth C. Frazier Award and for the light it shines on participatory, community-led approaches that keep the voices and experiences of women at the heart of efforts to improve maternal health equity in underserved communities. We are honored and proud to stand with all those working to improve access to quality maternal healthcare in their communities and to contribute to a world where no woman has to die while giving life.” -The Mali Health Team
2021 - Sinergias
The inaugural recipient of the Kenneth C. Frazier Award for Maternal Health Equity was Sinergias, a nongovernmental organization in Colombia that aims to improve access to respectful, high-quality and culturally relevant maternal health care services that center women as key actors in their communities’ health systems. Working in the most hard-to-reach areas of the country, Sinergias co-creates solutions with indigenous and rural communities to address inequities in maternal health outcomes.
“Winning this award is a great honor for us, but above all, it is a recognition and a wake-up call to the importance of working with people to adapt health care services in marginalized and diverse communities. Likewise, this recognition is highlighting the need to improve access to quality services by strengthening local capacities to improve health in a sustainable way,” said Pablo Montoya, General Director of Sinergias.