Riders for Health

Riders for Health's mission is to strengthen health systems by addressing one of the most neglected, yet vital, aspects of development for the health of Africa - transportation and logisitics. We achieve this by managing vehicles on a reliable, predictable and cost effective basis, to support the work of our partners who reach rural communities with health care and and other vital services.
Aug 13, 2010

When Rosemary visits me I feel encouraged

A carer from Vumilia visiting children.
A carer from Vumilia visiting children.

Dear friends,

Thank you for all your continued support towards Riders for Health and our work in Kenya.

At Riders we hear every day of the amazing difference reliable transport is making in western Kenya amongst some of the poorest communities. And we know we would not be able to achieve without all the amazing support we receive so thank you to all those who have donated to support our work through GlobalGiving. I hope that this report will give you all an idea of the work you are supporting and the difference it is making to the lives of people living in rural Kenya.

The impact of mobility for grass-root organisations Since 2007, Riders has been mobilising carers from Vumilia. Vumilia is a grass-roots women’s self-help group based in the Kabras district, in Western Kenya by providing them with motorcycles and training them to ride them and maintain them to ensure that they run to a zero-breakdown standard. Vumilia is working to overcome HIV/AIDS in their community, through the psychological, social and economic empowerment of women.

Reliable transport makes a huge difference to organisations like Vumilia as it means they can not only reach more people, but also spend longer with them. The mobility and technical knowledge is the vital missing link that is allowing them to reach many more women and children.

The increased number of mobile staff has allowed Vumilia to increase the area coverage of over four locations. Over the last three months they have reached over 1,600 men, women and children from some of the poorest communities of western Kenya with regular care and support. “Since I started riding the motorcycle I manage to reach 10 clients per day, compared to the times when I had to use the boda boda*. Also the bike has helped us to cover long distances. Some of the people live about 20km away from the centre but now I can reach them all,” reported Susy Nambute, home-based carer from Vumilia. The story of Caleb Omomo When Rosemary Mani, one of Vumilia’s outreach carers, first visited 36 year old Caleb Omomo, he was bed-ridden. His wife Beatrice was exhausted from nursing him, working on the family food stand and caring for their one year old baby. Rosemary encouraged Caleb to be tested for HIV and after he was found to be positive, took Beatrice and the baby too. They were both also diagnosed as HIV positive.

Thanks to her motorcycle, Rosemary has been able to visit the family three times a week to support and counsel them to accept their status. Rosemary is also able to monitor the progress of the family and ensure that they do not default on their anti-retroviral treatment.

“When Rosemary visits me I feel encouraged,” said Caleb. “I don’t know how to thank Rosemary for all her help. My weight had gone down to 40kg but now I am 55kg.”

Rosemary is proud that thanks to her motorcycle she is able to reach those in need in her community and make a real difference to their lives.

I hope that you have found this report of interest and feel the impact that your support is having. For more information on Riders and our work, please don’t hesitate to visit www.riders.org or contact me at ajenkinson@riders.org.

With thanks and best wishes,

Astrid Astrid Jenkinson Fundraising Officer Riders for Health www.riders.org

*Boda-bodas are bicycle taxis commonly used in Kenya and other eastern African countries.

Rosemary visiting Beatrice and the baby.
Rosemary visiting Beatrice and the baby.
Jun 4, 2010

May 2010 update

Simiyu’s legs were painfully swollen
Simiyu’s legs were painfully swollen

Dear friends,

Thank you for all your support towards Riders for Health and our work in Kenya. Riders are thrilled by the way the GlobalGiving donors continue to support our work in Kenya which is making such a difference to communities living in some of the poorest and most remote regions of the Western Province.

At Riders we know that mobilising health workers has a huge impact on their productivity and on the well-being of the communities they are responsible for. Riders is working in Kenya to mobilise carers from grass-roots organisations by training them in safe motorcycle riding and basic preventive maintenance to ensure that the vehicle never breaks down, leaving a health worker stranded and a community unreached. Bungoma Home Based Care and Supprt is one the the grass-roots organisations that Riders have been partnering with.

Bungoma Home Based Care and Support Bungoma Home Based Care and Support (Bungoma) offer home-based care to people living with HIV/AIDS and support and education to orphans and vulnerable children. Before the donation of six Riders motorcycles, Bungoma were covering three districts in the Western Province of Kenya. Now, they are covering all seven districts of the Province.

One of the key areas that reliable transport has allowed Bungoma to develop is the tracing and counselling of men and women who default on their antiretroviral treatment (ARVs). This kind of counselling is very important as once off ARVs, a person living with HIV/AIDS’s health can deteriorate very rapidly, leaving them susceptible to a range of infections and opportunitstic diseases.

The story of Simiyu Simiyu had been on a course of ARVs for a year but ignored the doctor’s ordered and stopped taking them once he started to feel well again. When Dorothy Wafula, a carer from Bungoma, found Simiyu he was hungry, bed-ridden and unable to walk due to his painfully swollen legs and feet. He had given up all hope of recovery.

“I had decided to come and be buried home so that the community may know that HIV/AIDS is bad” said Simiyu.

Dorothy immediately referred Simiyu to hospital where he was treated for a range of conditions including diarrhoea and a severe cough.

Thanks to her motorcycle, Dorothy was able to visit Simiyu three times a week after he was released from hospital to ensure that he continued to recover and that he was thoroughly counselled in the importance of adherence to ARVs. She provided him with immune-system boosters and ensured he was getting the right level of nutrition. Dorothy also delivered the ARVs to Simiyu’s home as he could not walk to hospital to collect them himself. Simiyu has now vowed never to miss a single pill again.

“Were it not for a community health worker who was on a routine visit in the village using their bike, Simiyu would have been dead. He’s now back in the community and on his feet again, taking ARVs,” reported Martin Lukhale, Director of Bungoma.

I hope that you have found this report of interest and feel the impact that your support is having. For more information on Riders and our work, please don’t hesitate to visit www.riders.org or contact me at ajenkinson@riders.org.

With thanks and best wishes,

Astrid Astrid Jenkinson Fundraising Officer Riders for Health www.riders.org

A health worker on the road
A health worker on the road
Feb 4, 2010

The impact of reliable transport in westerm Kenya

A health wortker visiting children
A health wortker visiting children

Dear friends, Thank you for all your recent support towards Riders for Health and our work in Kenya. We have been delighted by the continued generosity of the GlobalGiving donors which is helping us to ensure that thousands of men, women and children in western Kenya now have access to health care.

At Riders we truly believe that the work we do in mobilising health workers has a huge impact on their productivity and on the well-being of the communities they are responsible for. However, we know that it is important to be able to show this impact through empirical evidence. This is way we have focused a lot of energy in collecting quantitative and qualitative data to show the difference reliable transport makes to rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. We want our donors through GlobalGiving to know the impact their support is having.

Riders is working in Kenya to mobilise carers from grass-roots organisations by training them in safe motorcycle riding and basic preventive maintenance to ensure that the vehicle never breaks down, leaving a health worker stranded and a community unreached. Busia and SWAK are two of these grass-roots organisations that Riders have been partnering with.

Busia Family Life Education Programme Riders have been monitoring the impact of the donated motorcycles on the team at Busia Family Life Education Programme (Busia) since they were trained to ride them in January of last year. Before the training, we interviewed each of the delegates to establish what sort of distances they were currently travelling and what challenges they faced.

Busia’s services cover an area of 100km². This meant that the outreach carers would spend up to six hours walking in a day over very rocky and hilly terrain just to see one patient. All the trainees reported that lack of transport affected their work. Some of them highlighted the following constraints experienced in carrying out their work:

“Because of long distances from one village to another, at the end of the day you may not have reached all the clients you intended to.” Asmini Juma, community health worker and para-legal

“Sometimes my feet swell up due to walking long distances.” Caroline Kemunto Apiga, home-based care giver

Thanks to their motorcycles, these outreach health workers are now reaching on average four times more people than they were last year and are able to spend more time with each patient. In a week, they are now able to visit 42 villages and see over 800 patients.

The story of Mildred Egresa Mildred Egresa is a volunteer who has been supporting Busia for over ten years. She is 34 years old and has six children. Currently Mildred is a poultry farmer but her ambition is to one day train to become a professional community health worker.

As part of the volunteer team at Busia, Mildred is responsible for home visits to patients, referrals, community education on health and sanitation and visits to orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs). She reported that before receiving a motorcycle and being trained to use it reliably, she used to be able to see on average six patients/vulnerable children a week. This was mainly due to the fact that the homesteads that Mildred had to visit were so far apart.

“On foot I can only see one village a day,” Mildred told Riders when interviewed last year.

Some of the adults and children Mildred was supposed to see were simply too far away for her to reach. Last month, Mildred reported that she was now seeing on average 89 men, women and children across nine villages in one week. This is more than fourteen times the number of people that she was seeing before having a motorcycle and means that hundreds more people are now being cared for by Mildred on a regular basis. This is the most dramatic increase in numbers of people reached that Riders have been able to monitor in Kenya so far and is very encouraging.

Mildred is now able to visit every one of her patients; some even twice a week. The motorcycle has also boosted her self-esteem and confidence.

The Society for Women and AIDS Kenya Since the donation of eight motorcycles, the Society for Women and AIDS Kenya (SWAK) have also reported a significant expansion in their reach. They have been able to develop and expand their outreach health care facilities to deal with not only issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and family planning, but also to diagnose and treat tuberculosis, malaria and other general community health issues.

SWAK estimate that thanks to their motorcycles, they have been able to train 1,333 community health volunteers and are now serving 13,850 people living with HIV/AIDS and their families in an organised support group structure. They are also taking care of 20,000 orphans within the support group structure.

SWAK report that the motorcycles have played a critical role in tracing defaulters. ’Defaulters’ are men and women who are diagnosed as HIV positive, put on the necessary treatment, but stop taking their antiretroviral drugs (ARVS). This failure to take medication is often because the individual concerned was unable to attend the clinic to renew their prescription or because they do not wish the community around them to learn of their condition due to the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS.

Before receiving the motorcycles, SWAK could only trace on average 10 defaulters a month. They now trace on average 60 defaulters a month. Each rider also now has more time to sit and discuss with the individual why they stopped taking their ARVs and how they can be helpful to lead a full and healthy life. This kind of counselling is very important as once off ARVs, a person living with HIV/AIDS’s health can deteriorate very rapidly, leaving them susceptible to a range of infections and opportunitstic diseases. I hope that you have found this report of interest and feel the impact that your support is having. For more information on Riders and our work, please don’t hesitate to visit www.riders.org or contact me at ajenkinson@riders.org.

With thanks and best wishes,

Astrid Astrid Jenkinson Fundraising Officer Riders for Health www.riders.org

Health workers setting off in the morning
Health workers setting off in the morning

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