An award-winning social enterprise has hit the headlines again recently. Riders for Health – an organisation striving to confront some of the biggest challenges facing the development of health care in Africa – have raised £317,385 through a variety of fundraising schemes, a total which is set to be doubled by the UK government.
The resources will be used to equip health workers with motorcycles and continue to meet the transport and logistical demands of delivering crucial healthcare to rural communities. With a little help from their media partner, Motorcycle News, who helped promote the appeal to millions of people via its newspaper, website and social media, Riders for Health have managed to enhance access to health care for 12 million people across Africa.
But it doesn’t end there. With the vast majority of the population in sub-Saharan Africa concentrated in rural areas, the roads are typically non-existent – and so is public transport. Therefore, the arduous task of delivering health care by foot or bicycle means it can be tiring and often in vain.
Mobilising a health worker with dependable transport, then, is the difference between life and death. Literally. Six times as many people can be seen, and the time they spend with patients in the community is doubled. Of course, in the medical world, prevention is better than cure – and without equipping health care workers with motorcycles, the millions of pounds invested in vaccines, drugs and condoms would be wasted as it fails to reach areas where it’s needed most.
Additionally, Riders’ motorcycle couriers are responsible for collecting and delivering over 400,000 patient samples and test results to health centres and labs. A speedy diagnosis means patients can be given the correct treatment, resulting in a longer and healthier life.
This month, Riders’ health workers have travelled a staggering 28,000 kilometres – and this figure is rising all the time. Crucially, comprehensive road safety training is provided to prevent road accidents, increase the lifespan of the vehicle and ensure maintenance costs are kept to a minimum. Providing access to vital medical supplies and educating communities is crucial in preventing the spread of disease in sub-Saharan Africa – and Riders for Health are out in front, blazing a trail to reach the most isolated people, motivated to strengthen the country’s health systems.