Global Health Ideas

Finding global health solutions through innovation and technology

Transportation Innovation in Africa: Riders for Health

Riders for Health celebrated a major anniversary last week. “Riders for Health have worked for over 15 years on the problem of delivery systems for healthcare in Africa”

The founders of this organization had a “shared love of motorcycles that inspired marriage and the founding of an organization that provides African health care workers with motorcycles to transport patients and deliver medical supplies.

(1)Every year three million people die in developing countries because of lack of access to treatment.

(2)None of the eight Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed by UN aid agencies in 2000 mention transport. Without transport how will the goals even get off the ground?

(3) The Gambian government made history in 2002 by being the first African government to outsource the management of the entire country’s health delivery vehicles. They have given the management to Riders for Health.

(4) Cost-wise the price of one Land Cruiser is the same as ten motorcycles.

(5) Riders for Health enabled African health workers to reach 9.79 million people in 2002-2003.”


“Riders for Health has been named a Laureate for the Agilent Technologies Foundation Health Award, for their innovative work managing transport for the delivery of healthcare in Africa.”

“The internal combustion engine is 100 years old, yet children are still dying because no one can get to them,” said Riders co-founder Andrea Coleman.

“Public health workers have the necessary expertise to radically improve the health of people living in Africa,” she continued, “but even low-tech interventions like mosquito nets, sanitation and health education will not make a sustained difference until reliable, motorised transport is available to those who need it. We are delighted that the Tech Museum has recognised this vital issue, by honouring Riders’ work at a time when we are celebrating ten years of delivering healthcare in Africa.”

Riders for Health was featured in the PBS documentary Rx Survival: A Global Health Challenge in part 3 – Delivering the Goods. “At the dawn of the 21st century, we can prevent, treat or cure most of the deadliest diseases known to humankind — and yet millions die needlessly every year because the benefits of modern medicine and public health fail to reach them. What are the obstacles to providing care to populations in need? From the villages of the Gambia to the cities and towns of Thailand, from the sun-scorched refugee camps of Chad to the teeming streets of Bangladesh — this episode chronicles innovative health programs and charismatic leaders who, against all odds, are Delivering the Goods to millions of individuals — and inspiring a new vision for the future of global health.”


Written by thd

October 3, 2006 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. […] This Wednesday, Nov 15th, The Tech Awards will be handed out. This is an international awards program that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity. There are five categories: Economic Development, Education, Environment, Equality, Health (full list of nominees). The winner in each category will receive $50,000. Coincidentally two of the five nominees were profiled here in previous posts – Riders for Health for their transportation innovations and Sumitomo for their partnership with the Acumen Fund for anti-malarial bednets. The health laureates are listed below – does anyone care to predict a winner? […]

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