The lifesaving role of ambulance services during childbirth

When you hear the word ambulance, what comes to mind? Most often, we think about car accidents, serious injuries, heart attacks, and other harrowing life events – but what about one of the most exciting moments in life? What about childbirth?

Ambulance services play a major role in providing lifesaving care for pregnant women around the world. In fact, studies show that reliable transportation to health facilities during labor improves health outcomes and prevents death. A report by Jomo Kenyatta University and Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) stated that most maternal deaths could be prevented if all women gave birth in a health facility with trained professionals there to help. Many traditional birth attendants agree, as described in this Capital News article. Having access to a formal medical system during childbirth can be lifesaving.


Transportation to hospitals during childbirth improves health.

Why, then, do so many women give birth outside of a facility? The answer is a loaded one with many issues at play. A key reason is lack of transportation – many women do not have a reliable way of getting to the hospital. The Coalition on Violence against Women interviewed women in rural parts of Kenya on their childbirth experiences. These women described the most common reasons for giving birth away from a facility. One woman mentioned that it was too far for her to walk. Another said that not “having a well-equipped mobile ambulance with all the equipment for deliveries” was an issue. In both cases, lack of transportation was described as a major barrier to care.

In 2013, President Uhuru Kenyatta began providing free maternal and child health services in public hospitals, covering all out-of-pocket labor and delivery costs. This was a step in the right direction. However, a report from the National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development stated that “most women (42%) have little choice but to give birth at home because of lack of transport.” In other words, many women still deliver at home, because they are unable to access the free care available to them.


Rescue by Flare is here to help!

By providing quick, reliable transportation to facilities, we aim to improve maternal and child health in Kenya. Our goal is to reduce the time it takes to access medical care, as well as make emergency care accessible to everyone – including women and children during the most important moment of their lives!

Over the last year, we reduced time to facilities by 63%.

More time in a facility not only gives women and families peace of mind. It saves lives. Are you pregnant? Do you have friends or family members who are pregnant or who have small children? Join Rescue and assure that your loved ones receive the best care possible!

An individual or family membership to Rescue by Flare will assure that you and your baby are covered during the most important moment of your lives. If you are already a mom or a soon-to-be mom, use the promotional code NBOMOMS for a special discount. Breathe easy during your last few weeks of pregnancy knowing you have Rescue on your side. Go to or call us now at 0714-911-911.


Reimagining Ambulance Services and Emergency Response

We want you to not think twice to take an ambulance during a medical emergency. Trust us!

Using an ambulance during an emergency in Kenya is still the exception. Only 1 in 10 people arrive in an ambulance at an Accident & Emergency department (often called an A&E). This is despite the fact that using an ambulance during an emergency improves the chance of survival by 6.2% in heart-related emergencies.

Most Kenyan’s only association with ambulances is when they hear the sirens bellowing in the distance and see the ambulance stuck in  Nairobi traffic. Nairobians, and Kenyans at large, never call for emergency response services when they are in distress. Perhaps because of the news of their use for illicit purposes. With news of ambulances ferrying charcoal, we cannot blame you for being reluctant. 

Kenyans hardly ever call for emergency response services

Emergency response, according to most people in Nairobi, is calling your neighbor who owns a car to take your ailing wife to the hospital in the middle of the night. It means running for buckets to put out a fire rather than calling a fire truck. This phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that emergency response is slow and unreliable. It is also because there are too many numbers to use in an emergency and most just give up. Kenyans are also wary of calling ambulances and being charged above the hospital bill as the charges are separate. This extra cost is the most significant deterrent to the use of ambulance services.


Rescue by Flare is changing emergency response

We are reimagining ambulance services and emergency response. Hundreds of numbers have been reduced to one. We have built a platform to manage all ambulances across different companies.  In an emergency, you just need to call us!   With around the clock dispatch center, you receive quality medical care with just one call.  Our platform maps and tracks your request to your exact location. In addition, we send you the nearest ambulance and help coordinate and recommend a hospital with respect to your emergency. Therefore, in a case of a heart attack at 4 am in the morning, we will send you to the facility with not only a cardiologist but a cardiologist on call that’s nearby (not the same thing, surprisingly).

Already, our platform has cut down response times from 162 minutes to an average of  69 minutes from start to finish. That’s a 60% reduction.  We aim to make it even shorter as we continue to bring more ambulance services providers on board and identify additional opportunities to improve the routes to the patients and from the scene to the hospital. Having more ambulances in our platform means that when we receive a call, the chances are that one of our partners will be close by to provide emergency care.


How Rescue by Flare works to improve ambulance services in emergency response
  1. Visit our website or call 0714911911 to speak with one of our medical concierges and select a plan that is suitable for you.
  2. Pay for an annual plan. See our available plans here.
  3. When in an emergency, call our 24hr emergency line (you will be provided a hotline once you buy the membership; even more reason to purchase it today!)
  4. We will send the nearest ambulance service to you. Any medical care you receive over the phone by our trained medical dispatchers or in the ambulance en route to the hospital is FREE.
ambulance services in emergency response Blog

Why you should get an Emergency response plan by…

Emergencies are unpredictable.  At Flare, we are working to ensure that whoever you are and wherever you are, we can get you help in minutes. Drumroll, please…Introducing Rescue by Flare – for the very first time in Nairobi’s history, we have a single number to call to access the largest network of ambulances. Rescue brings together all emergency service providers onto one platform to respond to emergencies anywhere in Nairobi.

You can purchase plans for yourself, household and groups like employees or schools or really anyone in Nairobi! With Rescue, we dispatch the nearest available ambulance hence saving you the headache that would ensue if you tried to access an ambulance by yourself. With Rescue, we provide you free access to 24/7 medical assistance and free transport and care to the hospital from one of our ambulance partners.

So here’s why you should buy Rescue:


  1. You only need to memorize ONE number

Long gone are the list of numbers on your phone and having to stay up-to-date on the constantly changing emergency numbers. One call to Rescue and we take care of the rest. Our highly trained medical dispatcher will send the nearest ambulance service to you. Calling emergency response services does not have to be nerve-wracking, we got your back!

  1. The ambulance service will find your exact location

Flare technology uses tracking to identify your location. We also use traffic enabled mapping to find the best way to get to you. While we will always send you the nearest ambulance, we also avoid the ‘Uko Wapi’ when they are on the way. They know exactly where you are and how to get to you!  Reliability is our priority.

  1. There is a cover for everyone, and the signup process is simple

There is a plan for everyone. The Rescue plan is tailored to different groups.  You can buy a plan for your family or your employees as a group. Please head over here right now to see the different plans and choose the best emergency response plan for you.

  1. Quality care

We provide you immediate emergency assistance and care over the phone before help arrives. Emergencies are often life or death situations. Our ambulance services partners are the best of Nairobi’s responders and will provide lifesaving care on the way to the hospital. Nairobi is notorious for traffic jams and using a taxi is a gamble you do not want to take. Ambulances have priority on the roads as do ambulance patients at the emergency room.

  1. Rescue is the cheapest way to ensure you are covered  for emergency transport and care

Sometimes you may be reluctant to call ambulance services because of cost. That is no longer the case, as with the one-time upfront annual membership, we are offering a far more affordable product to ensure money never gets in the way of your care.  You will not receive a separate bill if you need an ambulance. By purchasing the Rescue plan, you are fully covered for emergency assistance and transport to the hospital. You cannot put a price on the fact that if anything were to happen to you or your family, ambulance services are a call away.


Visit and purchase today!


Lets move it move it.

Nairobi’s Emergency Response- Why so slow?

Fire and Gikomba market have become synonymous. Every year, since 2014, there has been a fire razing down the market. This year alone, there have been two fires. The most recent one was 6th October 2017. Property worth millions was destroyed and while no lives were lost or injuries reported, the response time was long. Several hours into the fire and emergency services were nowhere to be seen. The traders made futile attempts to salvage their goods but the fire was too strong for them and growing.

At Flare, we want to understand the factors that hinder response or slow it down. In this digital age, with smartphones and social networks, one would hope it would be easy to report a fire, right? Wrong. A study conducted by AFEM, shows that there is only one emergency number for all Kenyans, 999, and even then, the number is unreliable and mostly saturated with prank calls.

Community members who are laypersons and not first responders provide initial assistance in an emergency. Since they are untrained, they risk being injured or worsening the situation. It appears that the people have been conditioned to handling the emergencies on their own; the police or emergency response teams are seen as a last resort. That, or people are not privy to the numbers they need to call in case of an emergency. This lack of knowledge on the community’s part causes emergencies to go unrecognised for a long time.

Access is also a problem, for instance in the Gikomba fire incident. The market is crowded and the structures are so close together that the fire engines and ambulances cannot reach the emergency site on time. The fire hydrants in the city are scarce and it seems unlikely that they are functional. Therefore, with poor infrastructure the odds are stacked against the first responders and the community.
Flare aims to create a unified system among emergency service providers to help first responders reach people in need on time. Because emergency, by definition can happen at any time, anywhere, there needs to be some level of preparedness from the responders’ part and the community members.

What should you do?

  • In addition to the state run 999/112 emergency number (let’s be honest, it doesn’t always work), look up numbers of privately owned fire/emergency/rescue services and save them on your phone or memorize. Better yet, get a Flare membership and call only one number to reach all of the best providers in Nairobi.
  • Call emergency services immediately when something happens; most times the operator will walk you through what to do.
  • Stay calm in an emergency and do your best to give directions to your exact location to help reach you in time.



*AFEM- African Federation for Emergency Medicine


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