As you know, this time last year Riders expanded its work in Zambia into the country’s Southern Province. This life-saving step saw us not only equip over 70 health workers with bright-red Yamaha motorcycles, but also train them in essential on/off-road driving skills and basic vehicle maintenance. By giving health care professionals the skills they need to manage their motorcycles they can deliver daily checks on their vehicles and make sure that they are safe to use on the road, and that they won’t break down. But we don’t just leave it at that. Each month, every single mobilized health worker is visited by one of Riders’ own professional technicians who will do a full service on their motorcycle. The result is a hands-on vehicle management system that finally gets health care moving. And it works – because Riders’ mobilized health workers in Zambia are now travelling up to 1,000 kilometres a month to deliver public health services, like vaccinations, health education and home-based care.
‘People out there think no-one can reach them... Small places, with 300 families who all know nobody can get to them during the rainy season. They have lost hope. All of a sudden, a small bike appears out of the bush, with someone carrying all the various medicines they need. That is an amazing feeling’. - Gerald Sebesi, technician, Riders Zambia
Motorcycles are an essential tool in delivering ‘last mile’ public health care services. In a country where roads are often little more than dirt tracks, they can get to remote areas that simply aren’t accessible any other way. But sometimes, we need more than a motorcycle – and that’s where Riders’ trekking vehicles come in. Robust, sturdy four-wheel drive vehicles support the work of our motorcycles by enabling the delivery of larger-scale health care interventions. We run four trekking vehicles in Zambia’s Southern Province, with each travelling an estimated 3,000 kilometres a month to regularly visit ‘outreach sites’. Here they will deliver key public health initiatives, including clinic sessions where their teams will provide much-needed pre/post natal care, vaccinations and other services. These vehicles are also used to transport critical medical equipment, including drugs and vaccines, so that clinics, health centers and health care professionals are never out of stock.
As we look forward to 2013 it is our aim to keep our vehicles running to their target of ‘zero-breakdown’ and to keep health care moving in Zambia’s Southern Province. Together our fleet of motorcycles and trekking vehicles form a life-saving chain that is bringing public health services to some of Zambia’s most vulnerable people.