UPS and Fleet Forum recognized Riders for Health's program in the Gambia with a new award at the recent Fleet Forum Annual Conference. Riders' award winning program has made the Gambia the first country in Africa to secure reliable access to primary health care for its rural population.
In partnership with leading social enterprise, Riders for Health, the ministry of health in the Gambia has implemented a groundbreaking transport program, which is helping health workers reach all areas of the country. The impact of this full-service vehicle leasing program has now been recognized with the Best Transport Achievement Award at the Fleet Forum Annual Conference in Geneva.
Founded in 2003, Fleet Forum seeks to add value to transport effectiveness by providing leadership and support to the aid, development, and commercial transport sectors in low- and middle-income countries.
This new award, sponsored by UPS and presented by their representative Bob Gerlach, is given to the humanitarian organization that has inspired the membership of Fleet Forum through excellence in road safety, fleet safety, environmental impact, or cost efficiency.
Andrea Coleman, Riders for Health's CEO said: 'UPS has a vital role in transporting relief items to affected areas. UPS has long sought a more effective means of vetting in-kind donations and aligning those offerings to the actual needs of organizations active in the field. For our work to be recognized by such established organizations shows what a vital role Riders for Health is playing in improving health care transport in rural communities in Africa.'
As development budgets around the world have been squeezed in recent years increased demands have been placed on development projects to demonstrate their value for money and effectiveness. Riders for Health's program in the Gambia has resulted in:
• Doubling time health workers spend doing outreach work per week, from two days to four.
• Health workers now visiting three times more villages each week.
• Increasing the number of people seen by each health worker in a week from 30 to 100.
Therese Drammeh, Riders for Health's country director for the Gambia said: 'The commitment that the ministry of health and the government have shown to improving transport has greatly improved access to health care for our country. We are very proud that our work has been recognized with this award. We all now have an important job to make sure that this program remains sustainable for the benefit of our children.'
Riders for Health's partnership with the ministry of health in the Gambia has resulted in a system for running motorcycles and ambulances that allows the ministry to deliver health care interventions to the whole country on a cost-effective and reliable basis.
Riders for Health's executive director, Barry Coleman said, 'Riders for Health's system has been shown to work. Reliable vehicles mean health workers can reach every community and stop people from dying from easily preventable diseases. But this is something that should be in every country in Africa. If we are to achieve targets like the Millennium Development Goals, programs like this must be the rule, rather than the exception.'
Riders' program in the Gambia is based on an innovative financial model. The not-for profit business approach involves charging clients for the use of vehicles on a cost-per-kilometre basis, ensuring governments can budget effectively and transparently. It also makes the system a corruption-proof solution for donors.
Riders for Health has 20 years of experience working with ministries of health in Africa to put systems of maintenance, logistics and training in place to make sure reliable health care can be delivered successfully even in rural communities. Riders for Health manages vehicles for the delivery of health care in the Gambia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria, Lesotho, Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania.