Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Dr. Philip Isdor Mpango together with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Ms. Samantha Power, embarked on a joint visit to the m-mama Arusha Dispatch Center located at the Mount Meru hospital, Arusha. The visit aimed to highlight the vital role played by m-mama in advancing maternal healthcare services and empowering communities across the region.
During the visit, Vice President Mpango and Administrator Power had the opportunity to witness firsthand the impactful work being done by m-mama in improving maternal and child health outcomes in Tanzania. They were greeted by the dedicated team at the center, alongside Vodacom Tanzania’s Managing Director and key Ministers who provided a comprehensive overview of the innovative solution and initiatives implemented by m-mama to tackle maternal healthcare challenges in remote areas. The high delegation also had the opportunity to speak with beneficiaries of the program including new mothers, nurses, and community drivers, who shared their stories and how the program has impacted their lives, since the launch in Arusha in March 2023.
Vice President Mpango expressed his admiration for the remarkable achievements of m-mama, stating, “I take this opportunity to thank our development partners, Vodacom Tanzania Foundation and its partner Vodafone Foundation, USAID, as well as the implementers of this program Touch Foundation and Pathfinder International for your cooperation in implementing the country’s priorities in various sectors including the health sector, as we see in this strategy to reduce maternal and infant mortality.”
The m-mama program began its journey in 2013, it was piloted in Sengerema and Buchosa districts in Mwanza region and later in Shinyanga region. The pilot revealed significant success, m-mama was able to reduce maternal mortality by 38% in Shinyanga region alone. Following a successful pilot, in 2022, USAID and Vodafone committed to scale the m-mama program within Tanzania. m-mama is available, via a toll-free number, in 16 regions in Tanzania Mainland and all regions of Zanzibar. To date, twenty-five thousand emergency transports have been completed therefore saving more than 700 lives that would have been lost if this program did not exist.
“This program has proven to be very helpful in reducing maternal and infant mortality. It is our hope that, when fully implemented throughout the country, it will enable us to fulfill global and national goals on reducing maternal and infant mortality. In a special way, I invite all of you to join us in this victorious journey, ensuring that no mother and baby die from preventable causes” concluded the Vice President of Tanzania.
Sharing her experience in various development programs across the world, the USAID Administrator, noted that m-mama is an exemplary program that ought to be replicated globally where similar challenges persist.
“I have been to many places around the world but I can think of no program or project that I have visited anywhere in the world that is as exciting and cost-effective as m-mama. I would like to recognize the extraordinary work done by the government of Tanzania in implementing this impactful program that is going to get more impact with time, saving lives of mothers and newborns as more people know about it and more volunteers emerge to help drive vulnerable mothers and their children to medical care” said Ms. Power.
The Administrator further shared that the success of m-mama is a story that is being talked about in Asia, Latin America and across sub-Saharan Africa including Kenya where m-mama was launched on June 21st 2023, borrowing from the tremendous success it has had in Tanzania, facilitating twenty-five thousand emergency transports and saving numerous lives.
Vodacom Tanzania’s Managing Director, Philip Besiimire, echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the importance of similar initiatives in promoting sustainable development. “m-mama exemplifies the potential of leveraging technology to make a tangible difference in people’s lives. It serves as a model for empowering communities and strengthening healthcare systems, which aligns perfectly with the Government of Tanzania, Vodacom, and USAID’s commitment to fostering inclusive growth and wellbeing,” said Besiimire, speaking on behalf of Vodacom Tanzania and Vodafone Foundation.
“m-mama, a groundbreaking mobile health initiative that ensures no mother is left isolated or uniformed, transforming her mobile device into a beacon of hope. This transformative journey would not have been possible without the commitment of the government and the unwavering generosity and support of our funding partners Vodafone and USAID. Their commitment to improving maternal health and empowering communities has paved the way for this remarkable success story. At Vodacom Tanzania, leveraging our infrastructure, wealth of knowledge and pioneering innovation to improve lives is at the core of what we do” concluded Mr. Besiimire.
The m-mama Dispatch Center provides a range of services, including a toll-free number for expecting mothers to access healthcare information, emergency response coordination, and remote medical consultations. The innovative use of mobile technology and data analytics has significantly improved access to quality healthcare for expecting mothers and neonates, particularly in underserved areas, ultimately contributing to a reduction in maternal and infant mortality rates.
The visit by Vice President Mpango and USAID Administrator Samantha Power reflects the strong partnership between the Government of Tanzania, the United States and private sector in addressing critical healthcare challenges. It highlights their shared commitment to working with private sector and leveraging innovative approaches and investing in sustainable solutions for the betterment of Tanzanian communities.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Vodacom Tanzania Plc.
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Director of External Affairs&Vodacom Tanzania Foundation
About Vice President Mpango:
Vice President Mpango is a prominent political figure in Tanzania and a passionate advocate for social and economic development. His visionary leadership has been instrumental in driving positive change and advancing key initiatives aimed at improving the lives of Tanzanian citizens.
About USAID Administrator Samantha Power:
Samantha Power serves as the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). She brings extensive experience in promoting human rights, development, and democratic governance to her role, leading USAID’s efforts to address global challenges and foster sustainable development worldwide.