Since 2015, the Tanzania Rural Health Movement (TRHM) has been spearheading the implementation of a community based emergency response program in Mwanza City in partnership with firefighters, bodaboda drivers and Trek Medics International (NY, USA) targeting to improve access to reliable prehospital emergency care and transport for all Mwanza citizens such that 90% persons requesting medical assistance will be attended to by trained community responders within 10 minutes.
In a study conducted by Chalya et al (2013) it was reported that none of 5,672 trauma patient received pre hospital care before admission at Bugando Medical Centre. In response to this, the Mwanza Community First Responder Project works to provide urgent intervention with support of the Beacon platform, a text message-based emergency medical dispatching software designed specifically for communities with limited access to reliable emergency care and transport. By relaying text messages from the scene of an emergency to trained responders throughout the community, the Beacon platfom enables the nearest available emergency care providers to quickly locate, treat, and transport victims of trauma to the nearest appropriate healthcare facility.
In collaboration with Trek Medics International and Bethke Medical Consulting, the program has trained first responder from various groups such as fire fighters, police traffic, medical students and Motortaxi drivers. Currently there are 28 active first responders who responds to emergency incidents across Mwanza region with an average of 20 incidents per month.
In the course of strengthening the program, the organization introduced a toll free number 0800 750 112 and a dispatching centre at the medical dispensary to ensure quick response of the incidents to meet the golden hours. The program has conducted various campaigns to increase awareness to the community and was featured in local and international media such as CNN’s Vital Signs with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, BBC News and DW Radio with Ross Velton together with MainPost by Ramona Seitz.