Expectant mothers and their newborns will now access emergency transport services after the Ministry of Health on Wednesday rolled out the M-Mama initiative.
The initiative has been rolled out in partnership with the Government of Kenya, the US Government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Vodafone Foundation, Safaricom in Kenya, and M-PESA Foundation.
M-mama is an emergency referral system that swiftly transports pregnant women and newborns facing complications to quality healthcare facilities.
According to a statement, a clinically trained dispatcher manages the referrals and confirms facility availability to ensure women/newborns in emergency situations can be promptly managed.
The program also recruits and trains local car owners to provide additional emergency transport options when ambulances are unavailable, ensuring greater availability of transport for m-mama patients.
“The service will be easily accessible through a free phone landline and mobile number,” the statement reads in part.
The M-mama referral initiative for pregnant women and newborns has been shown to contribute to a 38 percent decrease in the number of maternal deaths in pilot locations in Africa.
The Government of Kenya is pioneering the m-mama approach to enhance maternal and newborn health.
Kenya has made significant progress towards improving maternal and child health, with most pregnant women (90 percent) delivering in health facilities.
However, it’s estimated that over 6,000 women and 35,000 newborns still die annually from preventable complications.
Therefore, efforts need to be accelerated to reduce the current maternal mortality rate of 355 per 100,000 live births to reach the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030.