The Emergency Health Crisis
Patients with life threatening illnesses in rural communities cannot safely access healthcare with existing transportation options. Traditional transportation options are too expensive and alternative solutions can exacerbate medical issues or are unsustainable solutions.
Sada Ziwadi is a woman we spoke to while iterating on our ambulance, in the Usangu Flats. She told us about giving birth in her village, Mwashota, and she told us about the concerns she had during her pregnancy. She worried about the walk to the hospital, because during the 8 hour walk, a friend of hers had to give birth on the side of the road. She worried about the financial debt because taking a motorcycle could be 10 times her yearly salary. And lastly, since no ambulances exist and any of these transportation methods may result in massive complications, she deeply worried for the life of her child. This is not unique. This is normal.
Analyzing the Problem
We can see the dire need for better medical care when looking at the issue of childbirth complications. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 300,000 women die every year because of preventable pregnancy complications, an overwhelming 99% of these women from developing countries. According to the World Bank, transportation is the one of the top two obstacles in receiving healthcare. Two years ago, there was no viable transportation option that was simultaneously versatile and affordable. We’re working to fill that gap.
We are working in Tanzania, where an estimated 5,000 women die each year to due pregnancy complications alone. 37% of Tanzanian women have chosen not to go to the hospital at all in fear of making the journey alone, and an ever greater 50% lack the transportation to choose at all. In rural communities, motorcycles are the primary form of transport because they are more affordable and can navigate the narrow, rocky roads. In an emergency, the best option for patients in crisis is to hire a motorcycle driver and face the long, dangerous journey alone. Those without motorcycle access face the road to treatment via wheelbarrow, bicycle, or foot. These realities lead to unattended road side births, exacerbated medical conditions, and discouragement from going to the hospital. Then, add into the equation that less than half of Tanzanian mothers are accompanied by a skilled attendant during childbirth, which can lead to serious issues when complications in the birthing process arise. It comes as no surprise that Tanzania’s maternal mortality rate is far higher than that of most other nations.
Less than 50% of mothers have a skilled attendant at their side when they give birth to their children, which has led to serious issues when complications arise. As a result, the maternal mortality rate for Tanzania is extremely high when comparing it to international numbers.