Ford Motor Company was recently named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute and after reading about its latest venture, I can see why Ford has made repeat appearances on the list. In June 2012 a nine-month project dedicated to bringing maternal and child healthcare to remote villages in India was launched.
The program, Sustainable Urban Mobility with Uncompromised Rural Reach (SUMURR), enabled 41 high-risk pregnant women to safely deliver their babies. These women live in Kodamaathi and other towns in the Kalvarayan Hills region, an area that has higher infant and maternal mortality rates than other areas of Tamilnadu. Approximately 50 percent of pregnant women in the region either die in childbirth or lose their child; this is a tragically high mortality rate.
What Ford and its partners have done is provide healthcare workers access to these remote regions using a four-wheel drive Ford Endeavour. Typically, nurses would use bicycles or two-wheeled motorized cycles to reach the area.
Once the SUMURR team made its way to the remote rural villages in the Tamilnadu region, it was able to set up 27 temporary pediatric and gynecology camps and provide healthcare to 1,600 women and children. Ultimately, 3,100 people in 54 villages were reached through the program, either through direct healthcare visits or through health awareness and education campaigns.
Ford is already working on developing a tool using the OpenXC platform, which was announced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, to help bring cloud services to the rural communities served by the SUMURR project. Local cloud services will allow healthcare workers to store data until they are able to secure a reliable cellular service to upload the data for future use.