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Mobile maternity transport service m-mama set to expand across Tanzania as new $10m investment launched by Vodacom Tanzania Foundation

06 Apr 2022Vodafone Foundation news
4 minute read

The mobile ‘m-mama’ service developed by Vodacom Tanzania Foundation and Vodafone Foundation that provides emergency transport for pregnant and postpartum women will now be scaled up from one Tanzanian region to cover more than 50% of the national population across 15 regions.

Starting from 2022, the expanded m-mama programme in Tanzania is expected to transport more than 300,000 women, empower more than 1,400 community transport drivers and could save more than 9,000 lives.

The new programme has been developed by Vodacom Tanzania Foundation, Vodafone Foundation and the government of The United Republic of Tanzania.

With full government endorsement, both Foundations have committed 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. 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 new-borns die each year form 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 new-born 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, said: “This simple platform has enabled over 12,000 women and babies in one region to access emergency medical care.  Over 200 community drivers have enabled this urgent transport for moments where an ambulance is not immediately available. Now with 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.  Our ambition in time is to expand this platform further to other countries where a simple community driver system platform, supplementing the ambulance service can save lives.”


Launched in 2013, m-mama is a tailor-made service offering emergency transport to assist pregnant and postpartum women during medical emergencies including obstruction labour, in addition to neonatal patients who need to get to a hospital or treatment centre.  The program was co-created by Vodacom Tanzania Foundation, Vodafone Foundation and the Government of Tanzania and was successfully piloted in 6 Tanzanian districts including Shinyanga and Sengerema.

m-mama uses a centralised ‘Dispatch and Control’ system for managing emergency transportation, optimising the use of government ambulances supplemented with community drivers. m-mama is data-driven, built on simple, robust technology that can be practically used in rural and semi-rural settings.

In the pilot phase, which ran from 2013 to 2022, the program reached over 10,455 women and 2,200 new-borns with over 200 drivers registered and trained as community taxis.

The m-mama solution has already contributed to a reduction of 38% in maternal deaths and 45% in perinatal deaths in the Shinyanga region alone, supporting the Tanzanian government’s strategy to tackle maternal and new-born mortality in the country.

About Vodacom Tanzania:

Vodacom Tanzania PLC is the country’s leading mobile operator and mobile financial services provider. We provide a wide range of communication services for consumers and enterprise – including voice, data and messaging, video, cloud and hosting, mobile solutions and financial services – to over 15 million customers.  Vodacom Tanzania and its subsidiary companies are part of the Vodacom Group registered in South Africa which is in turn owned by Vodacom Group Plc of the United Kingdom. It has been registered in the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) with registration number ISIN: TZ1886102715 Stock name: VODA.

For further information please visit our website:

About Vodacom Tanzania Foundation

The Vodacom Tanzania Foundation is the CSR arm of Vodacom Tanzania PLC with the mandate to provide public benefit to vulnerable groups with a focus on women & youth. The Foundation combines charitable giving and leverages on mobile technology to provide solutions to social problem.

Working with local NGOs and partners, Vodacom Tanzania Foundation has supported over 120 projects to date investing over Tsh 15Bn to improve the lives of those in Tanzania.

For further information, please visit:

About Vodafone Foundation

Vodafone Foundation (UK registered charity number 1193984) believes the power of connectivity can change lives and address some of the world’s most pressing problems. Founded in 1991 with a simple mission to invest in the communities in which Vodafone operates, today the charity connects people and ideas with technology and funding, to help those already doing good work to achieve results faster, more cost effectively and with a bigger social impact. Through a strategy of Connecting for Good, Vodafone Group PLC’s philanthropic arm works in partnership with other charitable organisations and NGOs to create solutions that bring about long-term sustainable change and improve 480m lives by 2025.

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