Vodafone M-PESA to pay taxi drivers who ferry high-risk pregnant mothers to hospitals

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To reduce high-risked pregnant women in Tanzania, new toll-free emergency line has been launched by the Vodafone Foundation – alongside its NGO partners Pathfinder International and Touch Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The emergency line  – equivalent to 112 in Europe, 911 in the US and 999 in the UK – could help save around 225 women’s and babies’ lives a month, and will see a network of 100 taxi drivers responding to emergency calls, taking pregnant women on what is often a three-hour journey to reach the nearest hospital.

Once women arrive at hospital, the emergency taxi drivers are paid using Vodafone’s mobile payment service M-Pesa. A trial of the taxi service late last year in a small area of Sengerema saved the lives of 323 women and babies.

BEYOND ZERO REPLICA

Kenya and Tanzania has recorded a high number of women losing their unborn babies because hospitals are either far or expensive. Being a Women’s celebrations week, many companies and individuals came together to mitigate the growing challenge among women.

The First Lady of Kenya started the Beyond Zero initiative aimed at accelerating the implementation of the national plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children and to reduce pregnancy related complications. Many Kenyans support the project and that was epitomized on Women’s Day where Kenyans came together to run with the First Lady.

In Tanzania, a network of 250 community health workers in Sengerema and Shinyanga have been taught Tanzania’s newborn and child health curriculum, and an additional 209 health workers have been trained in life-saving emergency obstetric and newborn care. Touch Foundation helped improve facilities in hospitals, including building two theatres for Caesarean sections.

A mobile application has also been developed for the community health workers, which lists more than 10,000 pregnant women and identifies those who are high risk cases.

Vodafone Foundation Director Andrew Dunnett, said: “Our maternal health programme is another example of the trans-formative power of technology. Since 2010, our ‘text to treatment’ programme has benefited more than 3,000 women living with debilitating maternal condition obstetric fistula.”

“Now, this pioneering new service will provide a much-needed lifeline for thousands of high-risk pregnant women in Tanzania without access to emergency healthcare.” he concluded

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Erick Vateta
Tech Editor at Kachwanya.com
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Erick Vateta is a lawyer by training, poet, script and creative writer by talent, a model, and tech enthusiast. He covers International tech trends, data security and cyber attacks.
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