The mobile ‘m-mama’ service developed by Vodacom Tanzania Foundation, Vodafone Foundation and the United Republic of Tanzania to provide emergency transport for pregnant and postpartum women in Tanzania, will now be scaled up to cover more than 50% of the national population across 15 regions.
This follows both Foundations’ commitment 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 and is expected to transport more than 300,000 women, empower more than 1,400 community transport drivers and possibly save more than 9,000 lives.Over the next six 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 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. We 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, on his side, said the platform has enabled over 12,000 women and babies in one region to access emergency medical care and through 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.