Transaid and Bibby Distribution team up again in Africa

A driver training consultant on secondment from Bibby Distribution has completed his second two-week project with Transaid in Africa, training a group of truck driving instructors to deliver better training at the National Institute of Transport in Tanzania.

4,000 people are killed on Tanzania’s roads each year and bus, coach and truck drivers there have historically hit the road without adequate training. To save some of those lives Jon Aspden, Regional Driver Training consultant with Bibby, overcame humidity, difficult road conditions and a Swahili language barrier, all on behalf of Transaid.

Having previously worked on a separate Transaid project in Zambia in 2009, Aspden knew to expect challenging driving conditions in Africa. But conditions in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam were a little more challenging still. Aspden saw buses overtaking on blind hills over solid white lines, trucks with their cargo inadequately secured, and met a policeman who had recently arrested a bus driver for having no brakes and no reverse gear, despite carrying passengers on a regular 250-mile journey.

“Fortunately the policeman had recently received vehicle inspection training from another Transaid volunteer from the Freight Transport Association,” says Aspden. “So he was able to identify the problems on the bus, and avert a potential disaster.”

Three Tanzanian truck driving instructors gained an instructor certification as a result of their efforts and Aspden’s help. Their training was split over two weeks, with the first week focused on driving best practice, and the second week on instruction techniques.

Aspden had a challenging time in Tanzania, having to work through a translator to deliver the training in temperatures that were considerably hotter than the UK’s.

Bibby Distribution chief executive Iain Speak explains why the firm is so pleased to be part of work like this.

“Bibby Distribution is a founding member of Transaid because regardless of industry or experience, road safety worldwide is still vital,” says Speak. “We’re pleased to help out with overseas projects and spread our expertise to save lives, and we’re very proud that our own people are up for the challenges to make a real difference.”

Transaid’s project coordinator in Tanzania says the training is operating on the “teach-a-man-to-fish” principle.

“We’re very grateful to Bibby Distribution for letting us make use of Jon’s expertise, and to Jon for coming out here to help develop much-needed driver instructor skills in Tanzania,” says Transaid’s Tanzania project manager Neil Rettie. “The three instructors are now well on their way to being able to pass on their skills to more driver trainers and they hope to have trained a further three instructors by the end of the year. This will not only save more lives on the roads but also ensure that this type of training becomes locally sustainable.”

Fresh National Express effort sustains Transaid’s Tanzania work

National Express Bus has sent two more Driver Training Instructors to Africa with Transaid, further cementing the company’s relationship with the industry charity, which saves lives through transportation-related projects across the developing world.

The trip was part of National Express’s continued commitment to support Transaid this year, with trainers Phil Reynolds and Kevin Roberts spending two weeks training six driving instructors at Tanzania’s National Institute of Transport (NIT) in Dar es Salaam.

Reynolds says: “I’ve been with National Express for 26 years, and this was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I have faced with the company. I was proud to front our engagement with Transaid in Tanzania and would recommend the experience to anyone else in the industry who might be considering it.”

Gary Forster, Chief Executive of Transaid, says: “Road crashes are now the biggest killer of economically productive adults around the world, according to the World Health Organisation. But Transaid is only as strong as its partners in tackling this problem, and National Express has been a stalwart partner in our life-saving efforts in Tanzania.”

During regular working hours at National Express, Reynolds and Roberts deliver training interventions that cover a wide spectrum of content from training new people to attain the UK PCV licence, to coaching existing drivers with many years service in the most up to date practises of safe driving techniques, customer service and company values.

The men had to cope with a language barrier to deliver instructor training to two of the six instructors they were training. They focused on driving ability, instructional techniques, and daily vehicle check training. They placed an emphasis on on-the-road training rather than classroom-based theory, and prepared reports for Transaid and the NIT on their experience. Reynolds and Roberts also updated a blog of their experiences in Tanzania at www.nationalexpresstanzania.squarespace.com

Earlier this year, National Express driver trainers Raj Bhutta and Arthur Baddams ran a similar training input at the NIT.

Michelin training instructor tackles tyre safety in Tanzania

Michelin Training Instructor Carl Williams swapped the Michelin Training Centre in Stoke-on-Trent for the sweltering humidity of Dar es Salaam earlier this month, as part of a two week secondment in Tanzania, with road transport charity Transaid.

Carl flew 4,700 miles to deliver two week-long courses to highlight how better tyres mean safer roads, and safer roads mean fewer casualties. Road deaths are the third biggest premature killer in sub-Saharan Africa, and Tanzania alone suffers around 4,000 fatalities each year due to road crashes.

Carl’s training input formed part of Transaid’s Professional Driver Training Project, which sees the charity work closely with the country’s National Institute of Transport (NIT) to improve road safety and save lives. Attending the course were commercial vehicle driver trainers and regulatory and law enforcement agencies, including representatives from the Tanzanian Police Force.

Speaking on his return, Carl says: “In my first week there were 11 people on my course. In week two I started with 13, but within 24 hours this had grown to 18; it was comforting to know people were spreading the word and actively wanting to attend.

“Some of the most valuable lessons came when we ventured outside to escape the intense heat of the classroom. On one occasion we found a commercial vehicle tyre which had suffered from such extreme under-inflation it had delaminated. It was a shocking sight, but helped to put the theory I’d been teaching into context.”

Carl found tyre repair standards differed wildly to the UK, with plug repairs and the use of liquid sealant commonplace, plus sidewall repairs are frequently undertaken. He used his experience to explain why sidewall repairs were not advised due to flexing, gaining an undertaking from the group to avoid such repairs in the future.

“The two weeks were challenging, but also thoroughly rewarding as the groups were so receptive to what I was teaching. By the time I left I felt they had a firm grasp of the importance of tyre inspections and the need to enforce existing regulations.

“I also met some incredible people during my time in-country. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this experience to my Michelin colleagues in the future,” adds Carl.

Gary Forster, Chief Executive of Transaid, says: “Carl’s training in Tanzania has helped us reinforce the message that adhering to basic rules of tyre inspection and maintenance can improve safety and reduce the number of road traffic crashes. Everything the group learned will be cascaded to colleagues across the industry and to future trainees at the NIT. You can’t put a value on this training; it’s going to save lives.”

Transaid’s support of the NIT in Tanzania is an extension of a similar project run in Zambia – originally launched by Transaid’s patron, HRH The Princess Royal, in October 2008.

The Professional Driving Training Project is designed to help make commercial drivers and those working in the transport industry better skilled and safer, teaching them a greater understanding of the many risks and creating self-awareness of their impact to other road users.

Logistics graduate embarks on African adventure with Transaid

A graduate from Norbert Dentressangle has swapped the UK for the sweltering heat of Tanzania, on a six month secondment with international development charity, Transaid.

Rebecca Smith, 26, who has worked for Norbert Dentressangle for three years, flew out to Dar es Salaam as part of her two-year Fast Track Talent Programme placement with the logistics specialist.

Rebecca will be supporting Transaid and Tanzania’s National Institute of Transport (NIT) on a number of initiatives including the Professional Driver Training Project, which promotes the improvement of driver training standards and develops programmes to help enhance driver competence, road safety and the efficient use of commercial vehicles.

She will be continuing the work of last year’s graduate Artem Avdeev, who worked with local fleet managers and transport companies to help them understand the benefits their drivers would receive by undertaking the training courses.  Rebecca will also be responsible for managing NIT’s training garage, developing revenue sources and running practical courses.

“I’m so excited and privileged to be working for such a fantastic organisation.  The partnership between Norbert Dentressangle and Transaid is one that is taken very seriously by everyone in my company and I’ll be giving all my colleagues back in the UK regular updates on all the things I get involved with,” said Rebecca.

Jacqueline Hector, Transaid’s Corporate Partnerships Manager, said: “It’s really great that Norbert Dentressangle supports Transaid by placing their graduates out in Africa with us.  Not only does it expose the work of Transaid to a new generation, who join our projects with great enthusiasm and new perspectives on tackling transport issues, but it also gives Norbert Dentressangle’s graduate programme a real edge making it one of the most popular in the industry.”

Norbert Dentressangle’s Fast Track Talent Programme is a two year programme consisting of four six month placements in different areas of the business such as warehousing and transport planning, as well as the opportunity to work overseas.  For more information about next year’s programme visit http://hr.norbert-dentressangle.co.uk/Our-Opportunities/Graduate-Programme and to follow Rebecca’s time in Tanzania visit her blog at http://projecttanzania2013.wordpress.com

National Express volunteers double the success of training scheme trip to Tanzania

Two National Express West Midlands engineers who visited Tanzania to train local engineers on a two-week charity placement, also managed to fix a bus which had been broken for more than two years.

Volunteers Ges Poole and Ian Baker successfully fulfilled the primary objective of their trip, organised by the transport industry’s charity Transaid, by training 10 members of the National Institute of Transport (NIT) engineering department in Dar es Salaam in a variety of subjects from vehicle inspection to repair and maintenance.

But when their training moved from the classroom to the workshop, and the Birmingham-based pair were shown a bus which had been broken for two and a half years, their lessons really came to life.

Ian, who works as a fitter at National Express’ Perry Barr base, says: “There was no better way of giving the students the real hands-on experience needed to supplement the theory they learned in the classroom; their hard work means the broken bus is back running again.”

After the students were shown how to fix faulty electrics and a broken ignition, Ian and Ges gave the bus a thorough inspection and test drive before declaring the vehicle roadworthy once more.

Ges, who is National Express’ Engineering Training Manager, says: “Fixing the broken bus was an added bonus for us. The students also now know how to check the steering and suspension systems of the NIT’s entire fleet, and are trialling a new service and inspection check which will be used for all future maintenance work.”

Although National Express has taken part in driver training programmes for Transaid for the last three years, the latest placement was the first time it has sent a team of engineers to share their expertise. Ges and Ian worked alongside Course Co-ordinator Becky Smith, who is currently on secondment from Norbert Dentressangle.

Increasing mobility of Community Health Workers in Madagascar

On the large, remote, southern African island of Madagascar its hard-to-reach Malagasy communities endure high endemic poverty and a recent history of civil strife. In 2011 Transaid partnered with JSI Training and Research Institute, Inc. (JSI) and The Manoff Group in a major USAID funded project, to reach out to communities in northern and western parts of the island.

The MAHEFA project answers to the country’s basic community health needs, in line with the National Community Health Policy which aims to bring essential health services as close to the patient as possible. MAHEFA aims to support local people to manage their own provision and access to maternal, child and other essential community health care. It is vital that local community health workers (CHWs) have good access to the populations they work with.

Besides regularly visiting patients, the CHWs must keep their local facilities stocked up with essential drugs and other medical commodities, provide health promotion and community sensitisation activities, take part in local meetings, and get back home in time to write up their reports. They must do this every day. For CHWs to serve their communities well may mean daily travel of 20 to 30 kilometres, often across difficult terrain. This is typically done on foot, taking many hours simply to reach a village. They then struggle to complete all their health-critical services and tasks before it gets dark and the journey back home becomes dangerous.

Since 2013, MAHEFA has distributed bicycles to CHWs and provided training on safe riding, maintenance and repair. Clear evidence is now emerging of the differences these bicycles make to the quality of health service provision and to CHW satisfaction. CHWs using MAHEFA bicycles cover greater areas and carry out all community health activities, including sensitisation and restocking health commodities. They are not late for meetings and they submit timely reports.

Gabriel is a CHW from the isolated district of Mahabo. Since receiving his MAHEFA bicycle he visits up to 10 homes each day. Before, he’d manage to reach just three houses in one day. His visits are also longer since it takes him less time to get from and back to his home. In using his bicycle to spend more time with patients, Gabriel has improved the quality of the CHW services he can offer. He is also happy that he can repair his own tyre punctures.

The overall number of household visits by CHWs has increased since the MAHEFA bicycles were introduced. This observation is confirmed by village and community health leaders, and through the CHWs own logbooks. There has been a rise in key health promoting activities, such as in relation to maternal and child health. The CHWs also report increased satisfaction because the bicycle provision significantly decreases their work travel time meaning more time for themselves in their own personal lives. It is particularly important that they stay motivated to carry out their crucial health care work.

MAHEFA delivered over 300 bicycles to CHWs in 2013. Many more Malagasy communities are thus significantly better served with basic health treatment, supplies and advice than they could have been two years ago. During the current 2014 project year a further 700 bicycles at least are planned for distribution, together with appropriate training.

Using transport to improve access to community health services in Madagascar

The MAHEFA programme – MAlagasy HEniky ny FAhasalamana (or MAlagasy HEalthy FAmilies) – brings improved basic family and community health services to isolated Malagasy communities.
From 2011, with USAID funding, Transaid partnered with JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc. (JSI) and the Manoff Group to improve the use of community health interventions and services, the supply of essential health commodities, and access to health to the Malagasy communities in remote northern and western parts of the island.
Under the overall objective of increasing the use of proven, community‐based interventions (mother and child health, family planning, water, hygiene and sanitation, prevention and treatment of malaria and malnutrition) and related health products, the programme impact of MAHEFA is measured against these expected results

Result 1:   Increased demand for high-quality health services and products;
Result 2:   Increased availability of high-impact health services and products;
Result 3:   Improved quality of care delivered by community-based health practitioners.
MAHEFA operates in six of Madagascar’s 22 regions, covering 24 administrative districts (275 communes) with a population of 3.5 million (Madagascar total, 20.7 million ). The programme duration is five years (2011-2016) and it works with 6,000 community health workers(CHWs). Endemic poverty (per capita GDP 2010, 900 US dollars ) and underlying civil strife (a violent political crisis that erupted in 2009 may only now, following recent elections, have an end in sight) characterise the context of its activities.

Transaid’s activities within MAHEFA
Within MAHEFA, Transaid’s role cuts across the key areas of project delivery. With the main transport and logistics objective of developing and implementing innovative approaches to improve access to essential health services at community level, these include:

  • Ensuring the availability of reliable emergency transport (to pregnant women, children under 5s and new-borns)
    •    Improving CHWs’ mobility
    •    Supply-chain strengthening at community level (through increased availability of essential health commodities for people in hard-to-reach areas)

Transaid’s activities began with an extensive needs assessment, reflecting their expected scale both in numerical and geographical coverage, and the unmet health needs of the communities concerned. This ran from March 2011 to September 2012 and demonstrated that the communities in question were often unable to access and/or utilise essential and/or emergency health services and commodities.

  • Available transport: Common types of transport (eg. oxcarts and canoes) and their usefulness in health emergencies were identified (eg. motor vehicles can only travel on the few made-up roads in the programme area).
  • Emergency Transport: Not only is emergency transport rarely available at health facility or community levels, but this includes an important behaviour-related dimension: evidence of sufficient community organisation to prepare for emergency transport during birth or health emergencies is also rare.
    •    Access issues: Nearly 40 per cent of community health centres were between 120-200km from referral hospitals.
    •    Supply chain: 50-100 per cent of many essential health supplies were out of stock or were simply not for sale at community pharmacies and other local access points.

The assessment concluded that the MAHEFA target population was under-served in relation to its basic health needs and that, through a focus that included improving transport and the supply chain, alongside other key community health interventions, overall health improvements were achievable.

Delivering health commodities to hard-to-reach areas
Transport is therefore integral to the entire MAHEFA project and since September 2012 important transport-based small-scale interventions have been implemented. These have already shown encouraging results and some have started to be scaled up.
An innovation to improve the distribution of health supplies in Mitsinjo, one district of Boeny Region has been the introduction of hovercraft. The terrain is swampy and prone to flooding, with many communes considered inaccessible for much of the year.
Hovercraft capacities to travel above water and cross sandbanks, as boats cannot do, make them ideal vehicles in these conditions.  Hovercraft trials to distribute health goods began in September 2012 and were evaluated closely for six months4.  At seven communes (the administrative level in Madagascar below that of district) results at the supply points showed:

  • Number of deliveries of health commodities during the previous three months more than doubled. Baseline: 0.8; Final: 2.0
    •    Average number of consumer units in stock dramatically increased. Baseline: 155; Final: 1769
    •    Stock-outs (when commodities run out) dropped nearly four-fold. Baseline: 78%; Final: 20%. (Those lasting over one month dropped from 21% to 7%)
    •    Similar results were found in relation to the provisioning of individual CHWs, showing that a well-stocked supply point can have an impact on CHW stock levels and also motivation to restock.

Cost per delivery cycle to all hovercraft accessible supply points was approximately 750 US dollars, but this represents a monthly average distribution of 1500 units of health commodities per delivery that would not have otherwise reached those Boeny communes. Cost reduction is being investigated through the provision of services to other NGOs and private companies, but the overall success of distribution by hovercraft means that this initiative is currently being extended to other regions.
Improving CHW mobility
In 2013, Transaid began supplying the CHWs in Menabe, Boeny and Sofia regions with 300 bicycles and the training to ride and maintain them safely.  To reach their patients, attend village meetings and return home CHWs previously made arduous journeys through jungle on foot. For the CHWs concerned the bicycle project has already resulted in:

  • Increased numbers of household visits to patients, health promoting activities at wider community levels and visits to restock essential health goods;
    •    Greater areas covered on visits in less time, and more time for CHWs to spend at home.
    In the current project year, MAHEFA will distribute at least a further 700 bicycles, following the success of the initial distribution and as a direct result of demand for them by CHWs, for whom receiving a bicycle from MAHEFA is motivating in itself.

Transport for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Emergencies
A methodology was developed to design emergency transport systems for maternal and child health. This based on intermediate modes of transport – such as bicycle ambulances, canoes and stretchers carried on foot – to meet the demands of the terrain and other access constrain. Community management systems are put in place to ensure that people can access the transport at all times and use it efficiently. To date, Emergency Transport Systems were established in two districts of Menabe Region and the impact of the intervention is being evaluated, in order to learn lessons before expanding to other regions.

For the remaining two years of MAHEFA, Transaid will continue to expand activities that proved successful, while exploring other solutions to remaining community health access challenges.
References:
1. INSTAT Madagascar (Institut National de la Statistique), 2011
2. Index Mundi 2010
3. MAHEFA, October 2012, Etude des Besoins en Transport et Logistique (Rapport Préliminaire)
4. MAHEFA, November 2013, Improving Community Logistics: Results from Use of Hovercraft to Improve the Distribution of Health Commodities in Boeny Region, Madagascar – Final Report

Bicycle shops in Madagascar provide new sources of revenue for volunteer health workers

In 2011, Transaid began working with the MAHEFA programme – MAlagasy HEniky ny FAhasalamana (or MAlagasy HEalthy FAmilies) – to improve the use of community health interventions and services, the supply of essential health commodities, and access to health in communities located in remote northern and western parts of the southern African island of Madagascar. MAHEFA is a community-based integrated health programme which brings improved basic family and community health services to isolated Malagasy communities. A five-year programme, MAHEFA is a consortium between JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc. (JSI), the Manoff Group and Transaid, funded by USAID.
MAHEFA aims to support local communities to manage their own provision and access to maternal, child and other essential community healthcare. To do that, the programme works through and builds the capacity of community health workers (CHWs), who are volunteers trained to provide basic health services, carry out health promotion and sensitisation activities. With the goal of motivating CHWs and other volunteer community health actors, Transaid has recently began implementing Income Generating Activities (IGAs) in MAHEFA regions, starting in the districts of Antsohihy and Bealanana, in Sofia Region. In addition to increase the motivation volunteer CHWs, these activities also have the objective of improving the standard of living of community health actors, as well as to contribute to the sustainability of their volunteer efforts towards community health.

The Income Generating Activities initiated by Transaid consist of shops for bicycle repairs and sales, called Ebox-Mandroso. Ebox means Enterprise-Box, as these shops can later further develop their business and diversify their activities; and in Malagasy, Mandroso means “welcome”, since everyone is welcome to visit the bicycle shops. It also means “development” – as these are efforts to continue developing community health efforts by improving the lives of volunteer community health actors. The initiative was born of the collaboration with partners such as the NGOs Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia (BEN Namibia) and Re-Cycle UK, who have developed in the past similar projects in other countries, such as Namibia.
After supporting the establishment of cooperatives formed by community health actors in both districts, more than 850 second-hand bicycles collected by Re-Cycle UK were delivered (with the kind support of DHL UK, who provided the shipping for the bicycles to arrive in Madagascar) to the cooperatives to be repaired and sold as a start-up kit. This initial revenue from bicycle repairs and sales allows the cooperatives to establish an initial fund, to later generate profits and continue the activities.

Transaid also supports the cooperatives by providing training in bicycle mechanics and management of small businesses, building the capacity of these new entrepreneurs. Close monitoring and evaluation is also conducted, since this is a new initiative for MAHEFA and its community partners. So far, over 80 community health actors in the two initial districts of Antsohihy and Bealanana are involved in these activities, either as employees at the shops or as cooperative members.
As social-enterprises managed by volunteer community health actors, the cooperatives will also contribute with a part of their profits to other community health activities, such as the mutuelles de santé or community health insurance (another MAHEFA initiative which allows families to sign up for health insurance at a cost adapted to the local cost of living, aiming to remove the financial barrier of access to health services when an emergency occurs).

After the implementation of these first two Income Generating Activities projects by Transaid, MAHEFA aims to continue its efforts to support community actors in the development of IGAs, through Ebox-Mandroso or other activities. Transaid will continue to contribute to these efforts, by establishing two new bicycle shops, providing continuing support to the existing projects and evaluating the impact of these activities against the overall objectives of increasing CHW motivation and improving the standard of living of community health actors.

Comic Relief announces £1 million grant for Transaid at Buckingham Palace celebration

Comic Relief last night announced a £1 million grant to transport industry charity Transaid, at the organisation’s 15th anniversary celebration at Buckingham Palace, hosted by Her Royal HighnessThe Princess Royal.

The five-year grant, which will be used to set up Transaid’s Emergency Transport Scheme in Adamawa State in Nigeria, was welcomed by charity patron The Princess Royal who also paid tribute to the transport and logistics sector for their ongoing support.

The Princess Royal said the support the industry has given to Transaid over the last 15 years is invaluable, before adding that the work completed so far is “only the beginning”.

Harriet Cochrane, International Grants Health Programme Manager at Comic Relief, said: “In just one year 287,000 women die as a result of pregnancy-related complications around the world, and shockingly, 14 per cent of these deaths are in Nigeria alone. Many of these deaths could have been avoided if the women had been able to reach a health facility for their delivery.”

Transaid’s Emergency Transport Scheme has already helped 10,000 pregnant women in Africa access medical facilities during labour, by training local taxi drivers and encouraging them to transport them to health centres free of charge or at minimal cost.

Harriet added: “Transaid is tackling a very real public health need by setting up a system that will be in place long after the project has finished. The scale and ambition of the project is huge, but we’re confident that it will bring about the changes it is planning, and save many lives in the process.

“Transaid has already proved the impact when they tested the concept in 2009 using funds from the transport and logistics industry before seeking a grant for scale up from Comic Relief.”

The prestigious reception, sponsored by Bandvulc Group and Barclays, was attended by more than 130 guests from across the sector including existing supporters, potential supporters and Transaid staff, some of whom had travelled back from Africa for the occasion.

Transaid’s Chief Executive, Gary Forster, thanked The Princess Royal for her “robust and continued support”, theTransaid team for being “passionate, hard-working and selfless individuals”, and the charity’s trustees for their “loyal support and counsel”.

Addressing the sector as a whole, he said: “You, the transport and logistics industry, should be incredibly proud of what you have achieved. I struggle to think of another industry which has done so much, so selflessly for the benefit of people whom you’ll almost certainly never meet, nor your business will benefit from.”

Transaid was originally founded as a sub-charity within Save the Children after its Patron The Princess Royal realised 25 per cent of the charity’s budget for relief work in Ethiopia was being spent on transport in emergencies. The Princess Royal went on to play a leading role in the formation of Transaid as an independent organisation in 1998, and describes it as being a “very special charity”. Transaid’s continued growth has only been made possible by the reputation and support base it has established within the UK’s transport and logistics industry, which has helped to support projects in more than 25 countries in 15 years.

 

Transaid receives largest ever grant to improve access to vital maternal healthcare

International development charity Transaid has been awarded funding of £1.83 million from Comic Relief to run its largest ever project, which will provide vital access to maternal health services in Zambia. It follows just months after Transaid secured its first ever grant from Comic Relief; £1 million to set up a five year Emergency Transport Scheme in Adamawa State, Nigeria.

The funding will enable the charity to continue its life-changing work, improving access to healthcare and increasing the number of babies born in health facilities. The programme aims to increase use of maternal and newborn health services among rural communities by supporting government partners to scale up a community engagement approach tested and implemented between 2010 and 2013.

The MORE MAMaZ project is an extension of the successful Mobilising Access to Maternal Health Services in Zambia (MAMaZ) programme managed and implemented by Health Partners International ( www.healthpartners-int.co.uk ) and funded by UKaid from the UK Government. This latest grant will allow Transaid, in partnership with HPI and Zambian organisations Development Data and Disacare, to introduce the programme in five districts and scale up the activities over the next two and a half years.

Skilled attendance at birth is considered by the UN to be the single most critical intervention for ensuring safe motherhood, as the timely response of emergency care to both mother and baby can radically increase survival if life threatening complications arise.

Transaid will be working with its partners and the Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health to help communities run their own emergency transport schemes. MORE MAMaz will build on the bicycle ambulances and ox-carts distributed during the original MAMaZ programme and continue to use low cost but effective means of transport to transport expectant mothers to health facilities.

Caroline Barber, Transaid’s Acting Chief Executive, says: “The huge rise in the number of births being attended by skilled professionals made the MAMaZ programme one of the most successful that Transaid has been involved in. We are delighted Comic Relief recognised this and has given us the means to continue this valuable work.

“We’re incredibly proud of our achievements with the original MAMaZ project and we hope to be even more successful with MORE MAMaZ.”