8th December 2022

Saving pregnant women’s lives through Vodafone Foundation’s m-mama programme

Sandra Oswald
Vodafone Foundation Manager (Tanzania)

Pregnant women in Tanzania suffer alarmingly high mortality rates, in part due to significant delays in accessing healthcare in an emergency. That’s why Vodafone Foundation is working with the government of Tanzania to deliver m-mama, a programme that uses mobile technology to connect pregnant women to healthcare when they need it the most.

M-mama uses a dispatch system which enables health professions to refer pregnant women and newborns to the closest appropriate facility in a crisis. It leverages local resources such as community taxi drivers, when ambulances are unavailable, to get women the help they need, quickly.

A new mindset

As Manager of the Vodacom Tanzania Foundation in Tanzania, I work closely with the m-mama ground team, ensuring that Vodacom Foundation is supporting the programme and the government to expand m-mama across the whole country. I’m really proud to be part of the engine driving m-mama programme, which is saving so many lives.

We have worked for many years to develop m-mama and prove its effectiveness, reducing maternal deaths by 38% and being highly cost-effective (only $2m per year for the whole country). Her Excellency the President has backed the programme, and it is being rolled-out nationally in only 18 months. It’s a great example of public- private partnership (PPP).

The m-mama emergency transport service works because it organises the entire response in advance so it is ready the moment it is needed. An app for the Dispatcher captures all of this information in one place and makes a fast response possible – it is brilliantly simple.

Governments love it because it is cost-effective and works even when the health system has challenges. Health professionals love it because they know they can be confident making referrals in a crisis. Ultimately, it is communities who love it the most, because it saves mothers and babies lives and prevents many more children from become orphans.

Making an impact

When I think of Vodafone as a company, I think of agility, innovation, getting things done together, experimenting and learning fast. These are the skills and values that run through Vodafone and make it a unique place to work. Seeing that translate into our social impact programs, changing and improving lives, and leaving a lasting legacy is something I can hardly put into words. It’s just so rewarding and fulfilling.

The fact that I am part of an engine that saves lives through our technology is incredible. I’m a change-maker and an action-taker, and m-mama has enabled me to be in the driving seat for this and many other initiatives that are making a huge impact. It truly is an invaluable experience.

Check out our website for more information about m-mama.