Donkey Ambulance Delivers for Expecting Moms in Afghanistan

Most of us take it for granted that when the time comes to give birth, we’ll simply drive to the hospital, where doctors and nurses will ensure that both mother and child get the best care possible.

Sadly, this scenario isn’t a reality for many pregnant women around the world. In Afghanistan, many women live in villages that are many miles away from the nearest hospital. In the most remote areas, there are no roads or cars that can be enlisted if there’s an emergency. As a result, complications during home births often result in death for the child or mother, or both.

One clever health charity has devised a solution that’s perfectly customized to the resources and terrain in Afghanistan: a donkey ambulance.

“The British charity HealthProm and designer Peter Muckle developed the inflatable donkey saddle,” reports the Atlantic. The invention is a lightweight and comfortable solution that encourages women to make the trek to a medical facility before the labor begins, thus helping to lower Afghanistan’s high infant mortality rates.

“HealthProm found that there was no comfortable way for women to travel in order to give birth,” Muckle told the Atlantic. “And they also found that if they did give birth in the health centers there was much more chance for them surviving.”

So, he took some supplies that might otherwise have ended up in the landfill — such as inflatable camping cushions, the armrest from an air bed and part of an inflatable pool lounger — and stitched them together into a puffy chair that could be strapped to a donkey’s back much like a saddle.

It seems so simple that it’s almost silly, but it’s working.

“The donkey saddle is very safe and secures the pregnant woman during her transfer to the health center,” said Dr. Azada Parsa, the project manager of HealthProm’s Safe Motherhood Project in the provincial capital of Mazar-e Sharif. “They are very happy with this saddle and they are coming to the health center all the time while they are in labor.”

Image via Thinkstock

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Carrie-Anne Brown
Carrie-Anne Brownabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla2 years ago

Why do animals have to suffer? I don´t like this idea, look for another solution!!!!

Edgar Zuim
Edgar Zuim2 years ago


JACQUI GLYDE2 years ago

How do the poor donkeys feel about this?

Catriona Macfarlane

It was a humble donkey that transported a heavily pregnant Mary to Nazareth, though its sad thst these women have to rely on a2000year old mode of transport, those that actually give birth with the help of trained staff are the few lucky ones. Makes one realize that we need to be grateful for all the special attention we receive when bringing our children into the world.

Catriona Macfarlane

It was a donkey that carried the heavily pregnant Mary on her journey to Bethlehem, but its kind of sad that these women do not have access to another means, still those who actually give birth with a trained midwife present are the lucky ones . We shoukd count our blessings when so often we find niggly things to complain about with our life style.

sandra j.
sandra j.2 years ago


Alina Kanaski
Alina Kanaski2 years ago

Cool--thanks for sharing!!

Bruce K.
Bruce K.2 years ago

Hope no one at the White House see this it will become part of Obamacare

Sandi C.
Sandi C.2 years ago