A health wortker visiting children
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
With thanks and best wishes,
Riders for Health
Health workers setting off in the morning