Saving Lives With Motorbikes

Oct 11, 2011 8:40pm

Imagine giving birth in a remote village in Africa. It is the middle of the night. You are laboring on the floor of a mud hut  – and you start hemorrhaging. Death is almost certain; the nearest clinic is 50 miles away and you have no way to get there.

This is a scenario millions of women residing in remote, underdeveloped areas of Africa and elsewhere  face every year.

Enter Riders for Health. 

For the last 20 years Riders for Health, an international non-profit organization, has been trying to remedy this problem by supplying health workers with motorcycles and 4-wheel-drive vehicles that enable travel over rough or nonexistent roadways.  The vehicles make it possible for the health workers to more quickly reach patients wherever they are, to treat them on site when necessary, and to transport them to clinics and hospitals when possible.

And Riders for Health also teaches health workers how to drive and maintain the vehicles.

“Just making sure your transportation runs is absolutely fundamental to getting health care to people who need it,” Andrea Coleman, CEO of Riders for Health.

“One motorcycle reaches at least 5,000 people,” Coleman said.  ”And that’s men, women and children who would have never received health care until Riders for Health came around.”

So far they have placed over 1,000 motorcycles and 4-wheelers in seven countries in Africa (Gambia, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho).

Making the World Smaller

Recently Million Moms Challenge partner Rockhopper TV met Tibisu, a nurse in Lesotho, whose Riders for Health motorcycle enables him a chance to deliver vaccines to patients living in remote mountain communities.

“Before the motorbike, it was not easy to come,”  Tibisu said. “I think they thought we were neglecting them.”

Tibisu now goes to the remote village on a set date every month, delivering vaccinations to the children, and giving health care discussions on disease prevention and hygiene.

“I always loved the idea of being a nurse, because I wanted to help people in the community,” Tabisu said. “The roads are really difficult, and it’s tough riding when it’s so cold, but (now that I have the motorcycle) I know I can get whatever I need to without any problems.”

Riders for Health has set a goal of reaching 20 million people by 2015. Click here to learn how you can help.

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