When Mwajuma, a farmer in Tanzania, started experiencing labour pain, it didn’t feel severe. But when healthcare experts examined her at the hospital, they told her she needed transport to another facility for higher level care.
With only a handful of ambulances working at any time serving her area’s population of 2 million, it would have meant walking for hours. But Vodafone Foundation’s m-mama programme, operated in partnership with Touch Foundation, meant that she could be transported to the facility quickly, and for free.
“My baby was safe, and I was OK,” she says. “Now my baby and I are doing great. The m-mama service helped us a lot.”
Since it launched in 2013, m-mama has connected over 13,500 pregnant women and newborns in Tanzania and Lesotho to emergency care. And now, it’s among the first to be awarded a grant from Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) $40 million (€48m) health equity initiative, a program designed to help advance health equity globally using cloud technology.
AWS’s three-year program is offering cloud computing credits, which eliminate or reduce the cost of AWS usage, as well as technical expertise to assist organisations addressing health disparities that impact underrepresented communities around the world.
“AWS believes individual health outcomes should not depend on socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or neighbourhood,” says Maggie Carter, Global Lead, Social Impact at AWS. “Cloud technology can be a force multiplier when it comes to addressing the inequities in global health that have been amplified by the pandemic.
“Through this programme, we look forward to helping the Vodafone Foundation’s m-mama programme and other organisations worldwide use AWS to advance health equity and improve health outcomes.”
Addressing health inequities is a complex challenge. Though technology is not a silver bullet, it can help us progress towards delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing.
The number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth has fallen by over a third since 2000, but the rate of decline remains way off track to meet global targets to cut maternal deaths. Poverty and weak healthcare systems are among the main reasons for the deaths, which are often preventable with the right care.
Thanks to the support of AWS, we can scale m-mama to ensure thousands more women like Mwajuma give birth safely.
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