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Technology and Pre Hospital Care in Tanzania

Casey McGillicuddy

In the middle of an emergency, how do you get the help you need? In a country like the United Kingdom, the solution is as easy as picking up your phone and calling a simple three-digit phone number for experienced, trained help to come get you and bring you to a hospital. That’s the basis for a prehospital system, named for medical care that takes place before a patient reaches the hospital, and it’s a vital part of healthcare. There is no formal prehospital system currently like that in Tanzania, but a growing number of volunteers are attempting to construct emergency systems in their local communities to respond to medical emergencies like car accidents, fires, and complicated childbirths.

What currently exists?

Currently, the people of Tanzania organize their own transportation to the hospital, either by private car or taxi. According to a recent survey by Research for Community Access Partnership (ReCAP), 85% of motor cycle taxi drivers say they have transported a passenger to a health facility in an emergency. Sixty-eight percent of surveyed passengers reported using motorcycle taxis to access health facilities. Motorcycle taxi drivers are currently filling a need in this country, but this should be a temporary measure. Taxi drivers are not equipped to handle medical emergencies or complicated patient transport. It exposes both the patient and the driver to increased dangers due to lack of training, and yet there is currently no other alternative. Continue Reading…