SOURCE: The Exchange

‘M-mama’ service will now be scaled up from one Tanzanian region to cover more than 50% of the national population across 15 regions.

The mobile service provides emergency transport for pregnant and postpartum women.

Starting in 2022, the expanded m-mama programme in Tanzania is expected to transport more than 300,000 women, empower more than 1,400 community transport drivers and could save more than 9,000 lives.

The new programme has been developed by Vodacom Tanzania Foundation, Vodafone Foundation and the government of The United Republic of Tanzania.

With full government endorsement, both Foundations have committed to invest US$10million over six years to roll out the programme, guided by a steering committee from Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and public health delivery agency PO-RALG.

Over the next five years, the Government will increase its funding and the programme will be fully integrated into the healthcare system by 2027.

At an event to launch the new programme, Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub said: “At Vodacom, our purpose is to build better futures and create productive societies. Core to this is the belief that technology must help bridge divides and improve equitable access to services. We believe that technology coupled with the country’s enabling environment and political will – has the potential to support African nations realize transformation in healthcare, agriculture, education, financial services and other priority sectors.”

Vodacom Tanzania’s Managing Director, Sitholizwe Mdlalose confirmed: “Too many pregnant women, women in childbirth and newborns die each year from largely preventable causes.  For nine years, we have been working with the Government to develop a practical, sustainable and scalable solution to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in the country.”

He added that they have built a system that strengthens health care delivery and connects the community and lower-level health facilities to responsive emergency transport.”

Andrew Dunnett, Vodafone Foundation Director, said that the simple platform has enabled over 12,000 women and babies in one region to access emergency medical care.

Over 200 community drivers have enabled this urgent transport for moments when an ambulance is not immediately available. Now with the support of the Tanzanian government, the m-mama programme will be integrated as a Government-backed service, supplementing the ambulance service that will provide much-needed emergency transport for more than half of the population of the country.

“Our ambition in time is to expand this platform further to other countries where a simple community driver system platform, supplementing the ambulance service can save lives,” he added.

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