Creating an “Uber” Motorcycle Service in Uganda to Get Expectant Mothers to the Clinic

By Noha Zeitoun, Content Intern, PSI and Alia McKee, Sea Change Strategies  

On Tuesday, we introduced you to Jane Mpanga, who runs the Good Samaritian clinic in Kampala, Uganda, with support from PSI network member PACE. Today we highlight how motorcycle taxi drivers are helping her patients get the care they need.

Naboth is 25-year-olds, boda-boda driver. He’s shy, and warm. His father passed away two years ago. Unable to afford school, he bought a boda-boda to support himself and his family. His mother then sent him to a PSI-supported clinic to talk to Jane — a midwife

A boda-boda is like an Uber motorcycle taxi service in East Africa. Regular guys buy a motorcycle — called a boda-boda – and then give people rides to earn money.

PSI is helping mobilize these drivers to put their boda-bodas to use for a greater cause — to help prevent women from dying during childbirth simply because they can’t get to a clinic.

Jane pays Naboth to go into the community to advertise her services and transport women who need help – free of charge.

He laughs and says, “My friends make fun of me, but I don’t care. Men can talk about maternal health. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Susan, a patient of Jane’s, at six-months pregnant is not your typical boda-boda passenger. She relies on Naboth to attend her pre-natal visits.

“The boda-boda is perfect for me,” says 20 year-old Susan, who lives about 7 kilometers away from the clinic. “Naboth drives well, the boda-boda is comfortable and it’s reliable – he lives just down the street from me.”

Motorcycle service

She’s excited to be a new mother.

“My husband and I are so excited for our first child. We want to make sure the baby and I have the best care. Mama Profam – Jane – is the best midwife around. Everyone in the community says so. You know she really cares about you and your baby. You feel that when you see her.”

“My biggest fear is having a miscarriage. But I feel safe with Mama Profam, so I’m not too worried. And I know Naboth will bring me safely to the clinic when the time comes,” she says confidently.

This boda-boda program is just one example of how PSI is working to ensure that no woman dies during pregnancy. It’s painstaking work. But it’s also effective.

For more success stories, go to the series: Stories from Uganda: Lessons in Providing Comprehensive Care for Women.