m-mama is set to expand internationally again as Kenya is confirmed as the next country to establish the emergency transportation system. Following the exciting news of nationwide adoption in Tanzania and Lesotho last year, Kenya is now the third country in sub-Saharan Africa to implement the lifesaving program.
On a recent visit to Kenya, Administrator Power (United States Agency for International Development) announced an $18 million public-partnership with the Government of Kenya, Safaricom Plc, M-PESA Foundation and Vodafone Foundation to expand m-mama to the country.
Pregnancy and childbirth complications remain leading causes of death in sub-Saharan Africa; the maternal mortality ratio for the region is 26 times higher than that of North America. Having a baby in Kenya is particularly dangerous – more than 6,000 mothers die each year and the country has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in East Africa.
m-mama plays a crucial role in reducing these deaths by connecting women and babies to lifesaving care. Many women face long journeys to reach hospitals, placing them and their babies at great risk. m-mama reduces these delays in reaching care by establishing a network of trusted community drivers who transport patients to the care they need, when they need it most.
Since its launch in Tanzania and Lesotho, m-mama has helped more than 28,000 women and newborns reach vital services and has saved more than 900 lives. Administrator Power acknowledged the impact of m-mama last week, saying:
“I can think of no program or project that I have visited anywhere in the world… that is as exciting and as cost-effective as m-mama. It’s extraordinary.”
The expansion to Kenya will see m-mama support more than 100 million people across three countries. It is a significant opportunity to work in collaboration with local governments and partners to address one of the world’s biggest health challenges. Touch is proud to be a key implementing partner for m-mama. In the months and years ahead, we will work hand-in-hand with communities across Kenya to help save the lives of their mothers, sisters and daughters, and are excited about the current and future expansion of m-mama.