Riders for Health
Riders for Health is an international non-profit organisation that provides health-care to rural African villages using motorcycles and motorcycle ambulances. By providing healthcare door-to-door, the organisation is hoping to help fight the spread of AIDS. The project has resulted in reducing the disease and illnesses by getting patients much-needed medicine.
Riders for Health was the idea of Barry and Andrea Coleman, a British husband-and-wife team. Barry worked as a correspondent and feature writer for The Guardian newspaper in Britain. Andrea was a professional rider for five years. In 1986, with the help of racing legend Randy Mamola, they contacted the representatives of Save the Children, who told them that one of the biggest problems they had in getting the children immunised was reaching the ones in remote villages. The Colemans went to Africa and saw the woeful state of the roads. They also noticed a lot of abandoned motorbikes, left by the earlier aid workers, that needed repair. Motorcycles are well-suited for harsh African landscape, where roads are often busted, rutted or simply non-existent. With the help of Save the Children, the local governments and money raised at bike rallies in England, they set up pilot programs in Uganda and Gambia, and helped acquire motorcycles and train riders and technicians. They built a fleet of 47 bikes in Lesotho that delivered health-care services from 1991 to 1996 without a breakdown. At the end of that period, Riders for Health became an independent organisation and had expanded into Ghana, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. They have since diversified its fleet to include refrigerated trucks, minivans and ambulances and introduced a motorcycle ambulance fitted with a sidecar called the Uhuru that can be used as a mini-ambulance and double as a water pump when the bike is stationary.
In May 2016 the organisation announced the closure of its UK office. The Riders programmes continue to run in Africa, managed by the African staff in those countries.
- Podcast interview with Andrea Coleman, co-founder Social Innovation Conversations, June 5, 2008
- Official website
- Riders for Health official channel at YouTube
- Charity Commission. Riders for Health, registered charity no. 1054565.
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