Why Motorcycles are Critical to Health in Rural Africa

Friday, September 13, 2013

The motorcycle. Even though from an early age I was fascinated by the engineering, it has always meant fun and freedom. That is until 25 years ago, when my husband Barry and I started Riders for Health.

Barry had always had a similar interest in the incredibly perfect technology that is the motorcycle and its engine. And we founded Riders for Health to concentrate on the efficient running of this technology to deliver health care to millions of people living in communities in rural Africa.

Rural Africa — where roads, service stations and gas pumps do not exist. From the moment we saw the need, and how the motorcycle could address it, its meaning changed for me. Now it is a lifeline. A life-saver that fills a gaping hole in global health that has long been neglected — with tragic results.

We started Riders for Health because someone had to. The sight of bikes in Africa broken and rusting behind health centers simply because no one had been trained in vehicle maintenance; the tales of health workers desperately frustrated because they knew people needed their help but they just couldn’t reach them; the cost in money and in lives.

Like all social entrepreneurs, we have doggedly pursued our goal to make sure that healthcare gets to people wherever they are, no matter how hard it is to reach them. And a quarter of a century is a long time to doggedly pursue anything.

But, we have learned that what we do is as valuable today at it was in 1988.

Source: Andrea Coleman, CEO, Riders For Health (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
public health