Tanzania Uber for emergencies saving lives of pregnant women, Entity.

Forget calling an ambulance. The sad reality for women in Tanzania is that an emergency hospital visit could take a two to three-day trek or one day on the back of a bike, “if they’re lucky.”

I dare anyone to look at those numbers and not be immediately overwhelmed by the unbelievable strength of women. I mean, can you even imagine?

The treacherous journey is thanks to Tanzania’s extreme shortage of medical resources. Only about 10 traditional ambulances exist to service an area of two million people. Statistically, for every 100,000 births in Tanzania, 454 women die.

Thankfully the Vodafone Foundation has stepped up to combat such tragedy, with a life-saving system being touted as “Uber for emergencies.” To use the service, pregnant women can call a 24-hour, toll-free maternal emergency hotline.

A health worker will relay the emergency to an “ambulance-taxi” along with the woman’s location, via GPS. Best part is – it doesn’t cost these women a penny. And, it may even be safer than the real Uber. Each driver is a local taxi driver who knows the area well and has been carefully interviewed.

They know the importance of their position, and receive their pay via popular mobile money system M-Pesa. Through the “Mobilising Maternal Health Program,” Vodafone ensures drivers receive half of their sizable $40 fare when they pick up a woman, and the other half once she has been safely brought to medical care.

Now, just try not tearing up watching this video of a Vodafone driver talking about the fulfillment he feels from helping the women in his community.

The program has helped 3,523 women thus far, and it’s estimated that it now saves at least 200 mothers and infants in Tanzania every month. And they’re working on expanding to another 10 districts in Tanzania.

I think the potential of the program is extraordinary. I think the innovation of using mobile technology to turn these vehicles that are already there into ambulances is very simple but, as you can see, very impactful,” said Andrew Dunnett, director of the Vodafone Foundation.

Thank God for technology.

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