Project information

Havelian - saving lives with a Man with a Van

Sometimes you don't need an air ambulance to save a life. In the mountain villages of Havelian province in Pakistan, a Man with a Van can mean the difference between life or death for a mother & her child. We work with local people to develop reliable, low cost, sustainable ways to save lives.

September 2008 - September 2014

Charity information


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  • Need


    In the mountains of Pakistan a woman is 40 times more likely to die in pregnancy & childbirth than here in the UK. For every woman who dies, another 20 will suffer serious illness or disability. Good medical care is available in the towns but many mothers live in remote mountain village where they are unable to reach care in a medical emergency. Roads are unmade, few have transport and there is no ambulance service.


    Women register with Ammalife early in their pregnancies. We work with a network of local taxi drivers to run a 24/7 emergency transport scheme so that women can reach life saving medical care. Most journeys are between 2-3 hours. Taxi drivers are guaranteed payment when Ammalife receives the hospital records.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To improve the survival rates for women and their babies in Havelian province.


    » To provide an emergency transport scheme using local taxi drivers - a Man with a Van.
    » To train village health workers to recognise the early signs of emergency in pregnancy and childbirth so that they call up emergency transport
    » To train taxi drivers & others in first-aid techniques to 'buy time' for the women they're transporting

    Success will be... more mothers surviving life threatening obstetric emergencies and fewer children orphaned

    Aim 2

    To build local buy-in to the project so that it becomes sustainable in the long term.


    » Show that it works in practice - saves lives, pays fairly, runs efficiently, is trusted by all parties

    Success will from village leaders and increasing financial contributions from local well wishers

    Aim 3

    to share findings which may be useful to other resource poor settings


    » Keep accurate and detailed records of all journeys and payments made
    » Ammalife's researchers will use this data to identify effective strategies to reduce death, illness & disability
    » To publish research findings in international medical journals & on the Ammalife website

    Success will be...publication of the findings in the International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, supplemented by a social media campaign.

  • Impact


    In tackling maternal mortality, illness and injury, the focus is often on the medical interventions. We aim to alert policy makers to factors which prevent women accessing medical help. These are critical if we are to save lives. When policy makers support solutions which draw on local knowledge & existing resources to tackle access to medical care, we will have shown that the Havelian project has lessons for many.


    That local taxi drivers would not opt-in - rates of pay are pre-agreed, payment is guaranteed in full on production of hospital records.
    The women or their families would not register for the scheme - we work with trusted local pharmacist and village health workers to explain why and how lives will be saved
    That demand will grow faster than resources can support - we are developing a network of local well wishers who aim to match fund us 50:50


    Detailed updates are published on our website and via social media links. In addition, our Annual Report & statement of accounts is available to all donors who are invited to attend our AGM and question any aspect of the project.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £12,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £800 taxi fares Yr 1 payment to drivers for emergency journeys
      £1,300 taxi fares Yr 2 payment to drivers
      £1,900 taxi fares Yr 3 payment to drivers
      £2,400 taxi fares Yr 4 payment to drivers
      £3,000 taxi fares Yr5 payment to drivers
      £700 admin print, record keeping, phone etc.
      £1,900 Health Workers Ammalife health workers x 2:2010 onwards

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Ammalife donors £6,500 Conditional
  • Background


    Havelian Province, Pakistan lies 100 miles north of Islamabad and in the foothills of the Himalayas. Havelian town has a well equipped hospital. The women we work with live in remote mountain villages with poor infrastructure. Villagers are poor. Women in Pakistan have a 1 in 110 chance of dying in pregnancy & childbirth and 1 in 5 chance of serious illness or disability linked to childbirth. These odds are much worse for the poorest women in remote villages.


    Firstly, women whose own health and well being is directly affected. Secondly, their children - few babies survive the deaths of their mothers and over 50% of under 5s will die. Thirdly, their village communities because, typically, women sustain local economies with their labour. Across the world, the most reliable indicator of well-being and prosperity is the good reproductive health of women.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Ammalife is a specialist, research driven charity committed to tackling obstacles to good maternal health in some of the poorest parts of the world. Among our trustees are those with internationally valued expertise & experience in maternal health. Although a small organisation run entirely by volunteers, our work is highly valued and we are widely consulted.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Sadia Malick

    Dr Malick is a Trustee of Ammalife & a consultant obstetrician with personal experience of Havelian province. She is the architect of this scheme.

    Amie Wilson B Sc

    Ms Wilson is Ammalife's PhD researcher. An Ammalife Trustee, she has published in the BMJ & The Lancet. She will process data.

    Mr Shakeel Ahmed

    Mr Ahmed is Ammalife's representative in Havelian where he manages the scheme from his pharamacy