December 29, 2010
In Tanzania, Doctors send bus fare to women needing care by SMS
A very interesting article from CNN, on doctors in Tanzania using M-Pesa's banking service to send bus fare to women suffering from fistula -- a highly-stigmatized condition that women can develop after a long, traumatic childbirth without proper medical care.
The money is used to pay for a patient's bus ticket -- helping them travel from rural areas to Dar es Salaam, one of the few places where corrective surgeries are performed.
"It has changed our treatment, because now we are having so many patients who could not access treatment before because of the transport barrier," he says. "Last year we treated only 100, we had 163 surgeries; this year, up to now we've had 253."
Doctors at the Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania clinic (CCBRT) say the average cost of a return bus ticket for a woman traveling from a rural area for treatment is $60, a huge amount in a country where the majority of people live on $2 a day.
"We use the mobile phone to actually transfer those transport grants to the communities, so that those woman can reach our facility -- and then the cost of lodging in a hospital, we also bear the costs," says Erwin Telemans, who runs the clinic.
Read full article.
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