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Access to Transport for Health Emergencies

Identifying the Situation and Assessing Possible Transport Solutions in Rural Sudan

Our team is working in association with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on a project that will address the issues surrounding maternal and neonatal care with respect to emergency transportation in rural villages of Sudan.

Briefly put, maternal mortality is a major issue in Sudan, particularly in rural areas, for which issues with transportation and communication cause more than half of the deaths. For the purpose of our pilot project, we aim to focus within the Northern Darfur region upon having identified various healthcare facilities in the vicinity of the local villages. We plan to utilise local resources and know-how in order to innovate, or at least repair, the “product” component of our potential program.

We hope to connect pregnant women with their closest healthcare facilities in advance in order to help appropriately regulate the availability of emergency services – especially for women experiencing complications and those in need of emergency transportation. Additionally, we hope to incorporate the use of mobile technology to help communicate essential educational information regarding immediate traditional treatment strategies. This part of the program is aimed at facilitating communication strategies that will help improve preventative and curative measures related to such emergencies. Another possibility we are exploring is the adoption of a non-pneumatic anti-shock garment (NASG), an anti-haemorrhage suit, that helps reduce excessive bleeding and ultimately helps prevent buy time during which the patient can be transported to a health facility.

We will further explore the possibility of using local basket weaving techniques, one of the prime activities among the female population in the selected region, in order to create the NASGs using this local material and expertise. We are currently investigating the possibility of introducing motorcycle, bike and/or rickshaw ambulances to address the transportation issue, as a low-cost and sustainable method of investment.

There have been some similar previously implemented projects in countries across Africa and the world (Southern Sudan, Zambia, Uganda); we hope to further analyse their strategy and test the potential of this idea in the context of Sudan, particularly in Northern Darfur. Over the next couple of days we have a few creative seminars and email/phone interviews scheduled with medical doctors, field specialists, social innovators and fellow student participants. Upon performing the aforementioned qualitative methods of research, we will further streamline and finalize our potential solution to the issue of maternal and neonatal care with respect to emergency transportation in remote Sudanese villages.

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