Riders for Health
“Riders aims to make the last mile the most important mile in healthcare delivery, creating, showing, and sharing the solutions for achieving truly equitable health care.”
Sub-Issue Area: Health Delivery One of the greatest barriers to healthcare delivery in remote areas is transportation. Organizations and agencies become less effective or even abandon programs when vehicles break down. Many breakdowns result from lack of attention to routine maintenance.
Skoll Awardees: Andrea and Barry Coleman share a passion for motorcycles. Andrea is a former racer and Barry is a journalist and author. Through the racing world, they became involved in fundraising for children in Africa.
Visiting the communities served by the charities they supported, Barry and Andrea noticed broken vehicles everywhere, many that could have been returned to service with minor repairs and maintenance. They saw women in childbirth being carried to the hospital in wheelbarrows, one of whom died during their visit. Frustrated that aid agencies abandoned vehicles rather than commit to basic repairs, the Colemans decided to fix the problem themselves.
They re-mortgaged their house and founded Riders for Health, to ensure delivery of essential healthcare services to rural Africa, with a Transport Resource Management system that places vehicles on preventative maintenance schedules. The system virtually eliminates breakdowns, reduces costs, and greatly improves vehicle efficiency.
By 2006, Riders had served about 10 million people, primarily in Zimbabwe, Nigeria and The Gambia, by maintaining about 1,300 vehicles. Much of this work was conducted through small contracts to provide service to regions or districts, or to vehicle fleets owned by health ministries or international agencies. Riders was also working to raise awareness of how reliable, consistent transport is crucial to effective health care delivery among ministries of health and the international health care funding community.
Impact since joining the portfolio in 2006:
- Developed a new Transport Asset Management (TAM) system in which Riders owns and maintains vehicle fleets, leasing them to health ministries and other agencies, as the model for future growth, with a goal of reaching 25 million people by the end of 2017
- Served about 14 million people, primarily in The Gambia, Nigeria, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Zambia, with a smaller presence in Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya.
- Available impact data and studies show consistently that the Riders transport management solution either contributes to, or is the attributed source for, higher immunization rates, reduced maternal and child mortality, and other effects of strengthened primary health care systems.
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