Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bicycle ambulances to the rescue

Malawi is one country with a deficit of health facilities in the rural communities. It takes one to travel fifteen to twenty kilometres to access the nearest medical centre. With such long distances, it becomes difficult for the sickly and even their guardians to think of accessing clinical medical help, thereby resorting to witch doctors for medical assistance. Only when conditions deteriorate and become more serious is when people start thinking about taking the chronically ill to medical centres.

Bicycles and wheel barrows are the means of transport to ferry the patients. It normally becomes difficult for the patient to be transported on such because of the positioning of the patient and in some in most these sickly would not reach the clinics alive; they pass away on the way.

Having realised some of these problems in the areas where ADRA is operating, it was found that the best way to alleviate the problem was to provide these communities with bicycle ambulances which would aid and reduce transportation problems of the chronically ill. These would be stationed at the chief’s residence and be operated by the HBC committees who in turn would look in the welfare and the smooth operations and repairs of the ambulance. A partnerships with ADRA Denmark Business Club enabled ADRA Malawi to provide the first 6 bicycle ambulances.

Speaking at one of the sites of presentation in Chiradzulu district, Chief Kadewere, on behalf of his subjects thanked ADRA Malawi for the donation which came at the opportune time when many people were living with the HIV pandemic and had no means to travel to health centres. He also promised that proper care would be taken to maintain the condition of the ambulance at all times. And speaking for ADRA Malawi, District Coordinator for Chiradzulu Mrs Ethel Dzimbiri, urged the community to look at the bicycle ambulance not as an asset for the HBC committee only but as their own. She went on to plead with the committee to use the ambulance for ferrying patients and not bags of maize to the grinding mill and any other duties.

This donation is a milestone in alleviating transport problems faced by communities to ferry patients.

By: Edson Gunsalu - Communications Department/ADRA Malawi Lefam Project

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