Imagine getting ready to give birth: the contractions begin, your water breaks, and then you face this choice: spend an hour or more walking on rugged terrain to the nearest health center, or deliver your baby at home, potentially without the help of a trained medical professional. For women in Kenya, where the maternal mortality rate is among the worst in the world, the decision is a tough one that recently became slightly less burdensome due to the introduction of motorcycle ambulances. As motorcycles and motorbikes are a primary mode of transportation in Kenya, the joint program between USAID and Save the Children was a natural choice for speedily bringing women (and occasionally their birth companions) to the health centers. The motorcycle ambulance operators were chosen for their reliability, accessibility, and responsibility, as well as their ownership of the motorcycle and possession of a license and insurance. In return for safely delivering the expectant mothers to the health centers, the drivers receive payment from Save the Children. Since the initiative began a year ago in Kenya’s Western Province, the number of maternal deaths has dropped and the number of deliveries at the health center has doubled. Other countries who have also used motorbike ambulances to improve transportation possibilities for pregnant women include Sudan and Ethiopia.

via Yahoo!

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