Ambulance app in the works

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Mimi Machakaire

THE United Nations, Vodacom Lesotho and Enigma Incorporations have begun collaborating on the development of a US$7000 (M98 756) mobile application aimed at assisting patients to access ambulance services to ferry them to health centres whenever the need arises.

Saleem Enigma, the Managing Director of Enigma Incorporations made the revelation at a recent workshop at the UN House in Maseru on government-private sector initiatives to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr Enigma said the mobile application which was being developed under the working title ‘Automated Ambulance System,’ features a patient to driver interaction system where the driver registers for the application via short message service (SMS) and inserts his/her details following the format provided.

“Patients request cars to health facilities by using an SMS short code for example, SMSing ‘koloi to 52000’,” Mr Enigma said, adding the application would be launched before the end of the year.

“Drivers confirm availability via SMS and health staff confirms transport referral of patient and reports back to system via SMS.”

Mr Enigma further stated that the system receives SMSs from the patient where the patient will add their location, cell phone number and other details.

The system searches for the drivers within a 10km radius and when the driver is found the system will alert the patient and sends the drivers’ contacts and pickup code.

Drivers who offer services to patients will be paid via Vodacom’s Mpesa service or Econet’s Ecocash.

On rare occasions where a driver is not found within the 10km radius, a report failure notification will be sent to the patient.

“Enigma is focused on exclusively delivering the best software experience to clients. Enigma helps clients with software solutions and other services that make a difference,” Mr Enigma said.

For her part, UN Coordination Specialist, Asel Abdurahmanova, said, “A wider stakeholder outreach is planned in the near future once a first working version is developed by the technical counterpart Enigma ICT Company.

She said the UN in Lesotho partners with various stakeholders to promote SDG advocacy and innovations.

She further said that telecommunications providers such as Vodacom and Econet were important as they had the infrastructure for sending SMSes and transferring mobile money.

“While we hope for the application’s success, we are also discussing with partners on key risks that can be associated with utilisation of the system.

“It could include risks of misuse of the system, security of the clients, conditions of the cars that will be engaged. Through discussions the team is currently looking at ways to overcome any challenges before the launch of the application,” Ms Abdurahmanova said.

The initiative is supported through the The United Nations Development Assistance Framework Innovation Facility funding from the Development Operations Coordination Office.

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