Why Off-road bikers race to save lives in rural Africa


Sporting an all-black rushing match, Bubacarr Jallow kneels alongside his glowing red motorcycle that is placed on reliable motorcycle wheel chocks, to look at its oil levels and be certain the bolts and nuts are tightened correctly. He strikes on the dirt road and jumps on his Yamaha AG100, weaving his way through terrain and tracks.

Being in a position to ride along narrow paths and execute maintenance tests on a motorbike aren’t talents most health employees on earth have to own, however, for Jallow these abilities are essential. For a community health nurse, he also is based upon his deathbed company to achieve the isolated cities dotting the Combo Central area from The Gambia, West Africa.

Within a region where lack of streets and unreliable transportation would normally induce individuals to devote a few hours attaining the closest clinic in your foot or by bike, Jallow’s durable bike permits him to navigate throughout the clitoris to supply life-saving therapy and wellness information to rural areas.

Equipped with a health kit, his regular motorbike round comprises visits to at-risk pregnant women and malnourished children. He describes them and assesses them. He HIV/AIDS and also spread food nutritional supplements and mosquito bed nets and instructs sailors.

Jallow says this would not be possible with no Riders for Health (RFH), a social venture working to transform health care delivery throughout rural Africa and supply outreach health employees together with the transportation that they require.

The UK-based team states it oversees a fleet of over 1,400 bikes, ambulances, and other hiking automobiles in seven African nations, reaching roughly 12 million individuals. It instructs them how to perform simple maintenance checks in their automobiles and trains American employees to drive on terrain that is hard. Additionally, it means there’s a source chain of components, though a community of pipes that are RFH-employed that are neighborhood services automobiles and all bicycles to be certain they don’t break.

“I obtained this bike four decades back as it was new and I’ve ridden until today over 50,000 km,” states Jallow, whose job covers over 10,000 people in 13 villages. “Because I received my bike I have been receiving my routine source of gas and also my bike has been serviced frequently,” he adds. “All this is towards my solutions inside my community over the previous four decades, so really it [RFH] has contributed tremendously towards the effective implementation of my own tasks within my circuit.”

Countless lives have been lost needlessly each year from easily preventable and curable ailments across sub-Saharan Africa, based on the World Health Organization. It estimates that some 12,000 kids in the continent perish from ailments and disorders like pneumonia, asthma, diarrhea, measles, malaria, and malnutrition.

Oftentimes, the vaccines and drugs necessary for remedy are accessible but don’t get to the huge numbers of people in demand as a result of unreliable transportation. That is just what prompted his wife and rushing journalist Barry Coleman Andrea to place RFH. Everything started after Barry has seen Somalia in the 1980s, in which he detected other vehicles and scores of motorbikes. At precisely exactly the identical time, he observed firsthand the dangers posed due to health care shipping to children and moms.

“Barry came back and stated that there are kids in rural areas that really have to be attained since they want immunizations; girls are still dying in childbirth and 30, 20, 10 kilometers off from ministry of health parks that are bicycles and ambulances which are just broken because nobody was trained to mend them, there is no provision chain of components, there is no comprehension of transportation upkeep,” recalls Andrea, a mom of three and former bike racer.

“We said, we have got a young family, we have obtained a mortgage however we believe this,” she adds. “It left us mad, really, that girls and kids are dying at rural Africa because an older technology such as a bike or an ambulance for this aluminum engine can not be handled — well, that is ridiculous, that’s mad.”

Both lifelong bicycle enthusiasts made many trips to Africa and finally set RFH in 1996. Increases funds at auctions and bicycle events in addition to by charging NGOs it functions with a fee for the services, agencies, and the authorities.

RFH claims that its function has empowered outreach caregivers to see almost six times more individuals and spend twice the time with their patients. They’re also able to hold about 3,500 meetings that are added per month.

In addition, the team has introduced a bicycle courier service which speeds up the identification and monitoring of individuals suffering from TB or HIV also lets them begin treatment early. In 1 RFH states, mobilized health employees have hauled test outcomes and more than samples between labs and health facilities.

Andrea claims the health of rural communities varies dramatically as soon as they get routine entry to
medical solutions. “We’ve proven that the upkeep of automobiles is absolutely crucial if you’re likely to have the ability to fix the health problems of rural Africa,” states Andrea. “And we’ve demonstrated how transportation can be conducted cost-effectively and the way local individuals truly benefit when they’re educated to a high quality to become technicians since it gives work in the communities”

Within their mid-60s today, the Colemans remain as enthusiastic about gaining access to healthcare since they were when they started RFH. “What brings me up in the daytime is the thought that health workers that are quite highly educated — men and women residing across Africa — actually wish to get out for their own rural communities and ensure they are wholesome,” says Andrea. “They can not do this by walking and it gets me really mad that there is not more emphasis on making certain transport runs correctly.”