At the USAID “Democracy Delivers” event held in conjunction with the UN General Assembly, the government of Tanzania, Vodafone Foundation, and USAID pledged to develop a maternal health emergency transportation system that now ensures hospital transportation for thousands of Tanzanian women. Samia Suluhu Hassan, the president of Tanzania, requested a cooperation to extend this initiative across the entire nation. In response, USAID and the Vodafone Foundation pledged $15 million, with $10 million coming from the Vodafone Foundation and $5 million from USAID. Vice President Philip Mpango, who was the government of Tanzania’s representative at the event, pledged to pay for all transportation expenses as well as to provide dispatch personnel right away.Through such initiatives, the program’s reach will be expanded from two districts, which are home to around 1 million people, to Tanzania’s 60 million inhabitants.
In to replicate this model in other sub-Saharan African countries with high rates of maternal mortality, Vodafone Foundation further pledged an additional $5 million, bringing its total investment to $15 million. To replicate Tanzania’s successes elsewhere, USAID will explore further into opportunities to collaborate with the Vodafone Foundation.
Vodafone Foundation and USAID developed a free ride-sharing programme for expectant mothers as part of a 2013-2020 maternal health programme in the Sengerema/Buchosa and Shinyanga districts. In accordance with the programme, a woman experiencing a maternal emergency dials a toll-free number, a health worker takes down her information, and a dispatcher uses that information to find the closest hospital and private taxi driver. The driver is paid when the patient is delivered to the health centre. The initiatives, which cost less than the cost of one ambulance and have transported more than 15,000 women and newborns to date, are now fully funded by the local governments in both pilot areas.
Joakim Reiter, Chief External and Corporate Affairs Officer at Vodafone and Trustee of a Vodafone Foundation, announced a commitment as part of a panel discussion on how businesses and foundations can work with developing democracies that was hosted by Administrator Power, who also announced USAID’s commitment.