Riders for Health – an award winning social enterprise that is transforming access to health care for over 14 million people by giving health workers access to reliable, well maintained vehicles – has raised over half a million pounds as part of a UK government appeal.
The money, which has been donated by supporters from the UK, has been matched by the UK Government as part of their Aid Match scheme, and will now help to mobilise maternal health workers in the Niger and Imo states of Nigeria.
The project will see skilled local mechanics ensure that maternal health workers have access to well maintained and funded motorcycles and ambulances, to improve outreach care to women’s homes and to make sure they can be referred to hospitals in case of an emergency during childbirth.
Riders for Health will also be using a specially designed and built all-terrain ambulance, the Uhuru X. This small, off-road vehicle has space for a stretcher to carry a patient as well as a health worker to accompany her. It is built for rough terrain and designed to reach isolated villages, away from roads and bigger tracks, so that women in labour can be transported to health clinics to give birth in supervised and safe surroundings.
The project aims to improve access to maternal health care for 200,000 women in Nigeria, but has the potential to be replicated to rural communities across Africa.
Despite being Africa’s biggest economy Nigeria is home to 10% of the world’s maternal and under-five mortality and fewer than 40% of births are supervised by skilled attendants.
Most of the 250,000 deaths of newborn children each year could be prevented simply by making sure births were attended by a skilled midwife. But, like huge areas of rural Africa, women do not have the transport to reach health clinics.
Riders CEO Andrea Coleman said: “This project is incredibly exciting. By improving transport and giving people access to health care they will not only be healthier, but they will begin to trust that they can rely on the health system to care for them and they will be more likely to access care for them and their family in other areas.
‘We would like to thank everyone who made a donation to Riders for Health and our appeal. We want to especially thank MotoGP and MCN for making this appeal possible. We are also grateful to the UK government for matching every donation to this appeal. Transport for health care in Africa is the most neglected area of development, but by supporting this appeal the UK government are showing just how vital it is. Together we have shown what can be achieved when an innovative social enterprise like Riders works with governments both in the UK and Africa, with the support of donors and supporters. Together we can help ensure health care reaches every mother, everywhere”.
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