A research team from the University of California, Los Angeles supported by Johnson & Johnson and in collaboration with WAHA International recently conducted an in-depth study in Ethiopia and Senegal designed to improve the financial planning surrounding WAHA’s motorcycle ambulances.

Researchers visited Senegal and Ethiopia to better assess the needs of rural communities.

This joint-research project explores future scalability and sustainability of WAHA’s maternal health motorcycle ambulances and seeks to map out best practices concerning planning, management, and monitoring. The UCLA team analyzed region-specific challenges and current financial barriers to better understand and tackle areas of difficulty.

Designed by WAHA International, these motorcycle ambulances aim to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity by improving access to emergency obstetric care for women living in rural regions. WAHA created an upgraded version in 2011 and we have since deployed the motorbikes in various countries, including Ethiopia, Senegal, Kenya, Somalia, Niger, and Chad.

Through an evaluation of relevant economic factors, the study aims to help WAHA’s ambulance system meet local needs and to ensure that the ambulances can be properly integrated within the health systems of recipient countries. The group of researchers spent over 500 hours conducting interviews in local communities and with leading players in maternal health issues, including NGOs, Ministries of Health, and university health experts.

The field study was conducted over a two-week period
in Ethiopia and Senegal, both within and outside WAHA-run health centers. Conferences and detailed background research further helped the team assess referral systems in rural settings.

Key findings from the report will be integrated into WAHA’s approach and will help improve and develop the financial model of our motorcycle ambulance system.

Watch a video on WAHA’s motorcycle ambulances for maternal health.

View photos from the field study on flickr.

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