SXSW Interactive 2013

Mobile Phones and eFuel Vouchers to Save Mothers


The majority of births in many parts of the world occur at home without access to skilled attendants, lifesaving medicines or emergency obstetric care, increasing preventable neonatal and maternal deaths. Nevertheless, many women are reluctant to labor at health centers due to the cost and poor availability of local transportation to referral hospitals. A recent study in rural Uganda tripled the number of institutional deliveries by addressing this transportation challenge through paper vouchers . Unfortunately, paper vouchers require prohibitive administrative costs and lead to fraud and counterfeiting. We apply a simple technological innovation to overcome these problems, develop a novel reimbursement tool and strengthen existing community infrastructure.
Innovation: We describe a fully automated maternity “ambulance” system using an automated mobile phone platform and petrol vouchers, that is immune to fraud and needs little training or new infrastructure.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What are the major causes of death from childbirth?
  2. How can we reduce or eliminate preventable maternal deaths?
  3. How can we encourage women to seek skilled obstetric care?
  4. When women live far from hospitals with access to emergency obstetric care, how can we help get them to the hospital?
  5. Transportation voucher programs have ben shown to triple the number of women able to receive skilled obstetric care, but they are plagued by high administrative overhead and fraud, which prevents sustained use and scalability. How can we overcome these challenges?



Peter Klatsky, Physician, Montefiore Medical Ctr- Albert Einstein Medical School

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Health and Medicine
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate

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