This May marks a special time for many people around the world. For some, it may be the farewell to cold weather or the gathering of families for a much-needed holiday. But for one special organization, it is the most anticipated time of the year.
The Idea That Sparked It All
Meet Moving Health, A Boston-founded 501(c)3 organization that has saved the lives of over 10,000 people. How? The first-ever custom motorcycle ambulance.
Born in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the idea had blossomed in a program called the Design-Lab; a student-run organization where engineers create solutions to help improve the lives of others around the world. For three ambitious engineering students, this was an invaluable opportunity to make a difference and create a common good for their community.
For Emily Young, co-founder of Moving Health, the challenge required her to not only uncover a current and prevalent issue but construct a dependable solution to it as well. While a difficult undertaking, it later prove a rewarding opportunity that would change thousands of people’s lives.
In 2016, Young and her team of engineers discovered a major issue while working with a Tanzanian non-profit. Devastatingly, expectant mothers are unable to receive vital emergency transportation to nearby healthcare centers. As a result, thousands of women each year continue to lose their lives due to pregnancy-related complications.
In response to this, the student team began constructing a trailer that could safely transport pregnant women to emergency medical care. In 2017, despite an intense process of trial and error, the team of engineers embarked to Tanzania in collaboration with local communities to help bring their project to life.
A Human-Centered Approach
You may be wondering, what makes the Moving Health Ambulance better than other forms of emergency transportation in Tanzania? Unlike other companies, the holistic approach of Moving Health is based on human-centered design.
Constructed in the Sissala East District, the trailer is the first ambulance to attach to any motorcycle. Thus, making the ambulance more accessible and easy to use. Additionally, by engineering a product that fits the needs of pregnant women, there is a solution that is more cost-efficient, sustainable, and reliable.
For Young, the most crucial step of the ambulance design was conducting interviews with local community members. During the second trip to Tanzania, “We performed over 250 interviews in order to understand the context of the area we were designing in.” Young said. “Over the course of hearing stories from many pregnant women, community leaders, and hospital workers, we realized the solution we had was very applicable and would make a lasting impact if we continued it on a larger scale.”
As of 2022, Moving Health has established concrete brigades in both Africa and Massachusetts. Moving Health is excited to announce its goal of increasing its production of ambulances in Tanzania and plans to establish brigades in other parts of Africa.
How Can You Make a Difference?
3 miles is the minimum distance that it takes for pregnant women to walk to medical care in Tanzania. 3+ miles in the grueling hot sun with the fear that she will not make it to give birth.
This May, Moving Health will be organizing its 3rd annual In Her Shoes 5k. An opportunity to walk OR run in her shoes so a laboring mother doesn’t have to. Come out and join Moving Health’s first in-person 5k at 10:00 AM on May 7, 2022. The event will take place on Magazine Beach in Cambridge, MA. Not in Cambridge? Not a problem! Join us from anywhere in the world and help change a person’s life. From May 7 – 14, be a part of the Moving Health Community during our In Her Shoes Virtual 5k. With one individual registration, you can provide 5 individual ambulance rides to women and families that need it most.
For more information and to sign up for the event visit Moving.Health.