Seif Nzwala knows every inch of Usanda's cratered roads: Heading west toward the dispensary, just around the bend in the red clay path, tips of buried granite boulders are ready to break the axles of unsuspecting speeders. Just beyond them, jagged bits of metabasalt, stoic survivors of two billion years of geologic drama, wait to puncture tires that stray too far to the left. But Seif's mind is not on the road; he is rapt by the woman in labor in the back seat of his Toyota Noah minivan. He hopes he can make it to the hospital in time.
Seif is a driver for an emergency transport system that dispatches vehicles to some of Tanzania’s most remote villages. The transport system is part of Vodafone Foundation's m-mama program, led by the Touch Foundation in collaboration with the Government of Tanzania, D-tree International, and Pathfinder International.
Since it was introduced in July 2015, m-mama has supported more than 11,000 life-saving referrals, averaging six emergencies per day. Seif recalls the first time he transported a woman in labor. "The first time, I was so scared," says Seif. "So, when she delivered the baby in my car, I was shocked. I was truly shocked. I didn't know what to do. But we had a nurse in the car, and the nurse comforted me and told me not to worry. The baby was big, but the bounciness of the roads helped, so she gave birth. We went to the health facility and she got good services. So, we do thank God. The woman was fine, and the baby was fine."
Kevin Ferguson for D-Tree International