Around the World

Meet Africa’s ‘Hells Angels of Healthcare’

One of the most difficult realities for health care in Africa is that the population is spread out across vast spaces and to receive treatment patients often have to travel hours over harsh terrain to see a doctor.
Riders for Health, which has been operating for two decades, mobilizes health workers with motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles so they can deliver vital health care and advice to remote areas of Africa.

But they don't just hand doctors motorcycles and wish them well. Health care workers are trained how to properly operate the vehicle and perform basic maintenance. For more serious upkeep, Riders for Health employ an all African staff that operates on an outreach basis, servicing vehicles in the locations in which they run, so health care workers don't have to divert time away from patients to fix their vehicles.

Andrea Coleman, who founded Riders for Health, spoke with Christiane Amanpour this week on 'Around the World' and believes that it's the proper maintenance and training that's been the key to creating a stable operation and fleet of vehicles.

With proper maintenance, motorcycles, ambulances and outreach trekking vehicles can last for at least five years, covering a distance of 150,000 miles, and reaching 10.5 million people.

Since their start, Riders for Health have been able to reach 12.5 million people in seven different counties - Nigeria, Gambia, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Lesotho - and add on average 1.5 million people annually.