• Great expectations

    Great expectations

    Lesotho is set to benefit from an initiative that addresses maternal mortality via a taxi-based emergency medical transport system.

    The M-mama ‘ambulance taxi’, a Vodafone Foundation programme currently running in Tanzania, is being expanded to Lesotho through a co-investment of US$4.5 million by the foundation and Lesotho’s government.

    Lesotho has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world. According to the foundation, the Southern African nation records 487 deaths per 100 000 live births.

    Established in 2015, the M-mama emergency service provides a toll-free number and 24/7 call centre to connect women who experience complications in pregnancy, labour or with a newborn, to either an ambulance or to a fleet of ‘ambulance taxis’. Local taxi drivers are trained to handle the transportation of obstetric emergencies, and given the equipment they need to get patients safely to hospital.

    Three call centres will be set up in Lesotho, and the foundation plans to extend the programme to other sub-Saharan countries.

    22 September 2020
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images