Mama Rescue: Our Purpose
The Mama Rescue Story
The idea for Mama Rescue started back in July, 2011, when Dr. Peter Klatsky was working with colleagues to train midwives on managing labor and achieving safe deliveries. A midwife’s ability to identify complications early, and get mothers to appropriate care before it is too late is a crucial factor in saving the mother’s life. During the training, one of the midwives told him that the prior night a baby had died from a treatable complication after it took more than 20 hours to arrange transportation for her to the hospital, despite it being a relatively short distance. It turned out, this story was far too common. . Despite having well-trained midwives managing labor, patients often arrive at the hospital too late to save the mother, the baby, or both.
Too many mothers and babies die because ambulances are broken, busy, or out of fuel. Even when they are available, they can be extremely expensive. As village members often seek help from private “special hire” drivers during emergencies, Dr. Klatsky wondered why this process couldn’t be formalized and improved – creating a communication system which would select the most efficient, reliable means of transport, using existing resources. We held focus groups with local drivers, community members, and midwives, and Mama Rescue was born!
Mama Rescue aims to reduce the three principal delays that lead to 75% of maternal deaths: 1. The Delay in seeking care; 2. The Delay in accessing care; 3. The Delay in receiving appropriate care at the hospital. Mama Rescue is an automated, cloud-based platform that facilitates transport for mothers in labor and communication between health centers and hospitals. We've created a scalable, sustainable, and user-friendly system using existing infrastructure, such as simple mobile phones and mobile money systems.
How it works: Mama Rescue has two components:
Transport Voucher for Labour System:
The WHO recommends that every pregnant women see a skilled provider at least 4 times while she is pregnant. Unfortunately, less than half of women in Uganda achieve this.
With Mama Rescue, at her first antenatal care visit, a midwife will register an expectant mother in the Mama Rescue system, creating a unique ID number for the mother.
On each subsequent visit, the midwife will enter the ID number to log the appointment. Once the mother has logged 4 appointments, she will receive an electronic voucher, and a list of boda drivers registered in the Mama Rescue system.
When labor begins, she simply calls one of the boda drivers, who will dial the Mama Rescue code *176*1#, and enter her ID number. This validates the voucher, which he can redeem at any MTN mobile-money provider after he drops her off at the health center.
Emergency Obstetric Dispatch System:
If a complication arises during labor at the health center, the midwife calls the emergency, toll-free Mama Rescue line. The system locates the case by recognizing the midwife's phone number and matching it to her health center. An automated voice call is sent to registered special hire (i.e. taxis) and ambulance drivers in the area, who respond with their availability, and their estimated time of arrival. The system selects a driver based on efficiency, and in the case of a non life-threatening emergency, cost. The driver is notified that he has been selected and proceeds to pick up the patient. The midwife at the health center is notified that a driver is coming, and then prompted to answer clinical questions about the patient. This information is sent to the hospital midwives, alerting them that a patient is on her way, and providing information for triage and preparation for surgery. When the driver arrives at the hospital, a midwife uses the system to validate his phone number, enabling him to be paid in mobile money. Once the case is resolved, the midwife enters the outcome into a survey in her mobile phone, storing the data in the Mama Rescue database.