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M-mama expands emergency service to Zanzibar

24 Oct 2023Vodafone Foundation news
2 minute read

Over 40 million people living in Tanzania are based in rural areas, making it difficult for them to get access to healthcare. For women, complications during childbirth can require them to travel miles to access the appropriate care they need and that isn’t always possible.

In Veronica’s case, she needed to get from one clinic to another during her twins’ labour. If it weren’t for m-mama, her youngest could have lost her life, and Veronica could have lost her own too.

Here she tells us her story:


With m-mama, we can support mothers like Veronica to get life-saving medical assistance by providing them with affordable emergency transport.

How does m-mama work?

Creating a network of local drivers to act as emergency transport, in areas where ambulances are rarely available, m-mama has detailed referral plans for every clinic and village, meaning they can connect pregnant women to the right care.

When a patient calls in, the dispatch centre can assess their requirements and identify the nearest driver to take them to a health facility for treatment. On safe arrival, the driver is paid instantly for the journey via M-Pesa (Vodacom's mobile money transfer system) or another approved payment system.

Already live in Tanzania and Lesotho, Vodafone has seen a 38% reduction in maternal deaths where it is rolled out and even greater improvements when it comes to survival rates of newborns.

Expanding into Zanzibar

In December, the programme expanded its reach to include the islands of Zanzibar. Expectant mothers can access the m-mama dispatch centre in Zanzibar which will transport them either by car or boat as needed to receive the care they need.

Since then, we’ve already provided transport for over 470 emergencies. This shows how important this service is.

To complement the launch, we also donated foldable stretch beds and life jackets for logistical and safety support of the boat taxis. These will be distributed to eight of the inhabited islands that are benefiting from the program.

With Sub-Saharan Africa suffering some of the highest rates in maternal and child mortality it is important we continue to expand this offering, reaching as many mothers and newborns as possible.

  • Africa
  • Apps
  • Connectivity
  • Emergency response
  • Health
  • m-mama
  • Rural connectivity
  • SDG 3
  • SDGs
  • Social Contract
  • Technology
  • Vodafone Foundation

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