Rural villages in Tanzania and other developing countries are often miles from medical care facilities. The vehicles that do exist, often motorcycles and dirt bikes, are not suited to carry a patient in need of medical attention. As a result, community members are not able to get to the hospital fast enough in times of crisis. Due to cost and road conditions, conventional ambulance services are not a viable option. This gives the people living out in rural villages essentially no viable option to get the professional health care that they need. The patients do not get the needed medical attention, and the hospital centers do not serve the community in the intended way.
The Okoa Project aims to increase access to healthcare through providing an affordable ambulance trailer that can connect rural communities to their healthcare system. Through continued community collaborations, we have developed a dynamic attachment mechanism which fits onto any motorcycle, turning existing transportation options into life-saving devices. We designed the ambulance to the patients’ criteria, and so included space for additional family member or midwife, first aid kit, and birthing kit. To ensure sustainability, our ambulance is made of locally sourced materials for easy maintenance and removable interior so that it can be used in the off time to transport much needed medical supplies. With the integration of the Okoa ambulance into these rural communities, we hope to reduce fatalities and improve quality of life, all on a low budget.