Developing and Deploying an App to Coordinate Ambulance Drivers: Experiences from the Kampala Slum Maternal and Newborn Health (MaNe) Project

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The USAID-funded Kampala Slum Maternal Newborn Health (MaNe) project was a three-year implementation research project in Uganda. The MaNe project tested innovative approaches to address the demand- and supply-side health system barriers that affect care seeking for maternal and newborn health (MNH). MaNe was designed as an implementation research project to provide evidence about the feasibility, replicability, and scalability of selected MNH interventions within an urban setting.

One area of focus for MaNe was strengthening referral linkages between public and private health facilities for maternal and newborn care in the city of Kampala. The referral system in Kampala is comprised of many privately owned ambulances, a few public ambulances, and an uncoordinated patient referral system. Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is the government entity in Kampala that is responsible for deploying public ambulances. The KCCA system, however, did not have a method in place to monitor driver movement. Drawing on experiences from other ambulance coordination applications in sub-Saharan Africa, MaNe developed a prototype of a mobile app called the Kampala Digital Emergency Transport System (KDETS)to improve inter-facility referral. The app provides the user with information on emergency transport access and referral facilities with information to deploy and track ambulances and their drivers. This app is now in use, linking 25 ambulances (6 public and 19 private) with 72 facilities (24 public and 48 private).

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