The Last Mile: Transportation Enables Health Care Access for Rural Communities


The number one health problem
in Africa in general is of course, access to medicines,
malaria nets. But the major problem is
the delivery of them. It makes it difficult for the nurses and
the doctors to see patients. And for the patients,
they have to walk miles or use bicycles. They often have to carry their children,
their sick ones, their loved ones. Often times the way that people deal
with health crises is not do anything.>>If you have cold vaccines and
a doctor, but you have no way of getting that doctor and the cold vaccines to
a rural village, to where they’re needed? That’s a big problem.>>This was a research
funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on
the effectiveness of motorcycle transport in the delivery of healthcare in
remote areas in sub-Saharan Africa. The joint project between the Stanford
business school and the medical school. [MUSIC] The motorcycles are a very good means
of transport in Africa currently, mainly because of the lack of paved roads. But you have to maintain them well. When I came across the Riders for
Health organization, I found that this is one very powerful example where
they were exactly using a transport management solution, preventive
maintenance, how to do inventory control, applied to the right target
population to make a difference. To control districts that were not
using this method of maintenance and division of spare parts vehicles died. Under the districts where Riders
was managing the vehicles, zero, zero death of the motorcycle.>>What the research has shown is that systematic management
of transportation works. There was a threefold increase in
motorcycle trips to provide basic healthcare, a four-fold increase
in the reach to distant villages, and a five-fold increase in
the number of patients seen by the healthcare workers
using the transportation.>>We can get rid of malaria,
we can get rid of diarrhea, we can get rid of cholera. Those are things that have solutions, have answers. This puts the transportation
problem at the center of the stage as part of any solution
>>There are investors who are already interested in transportation for
health ministries they typically donate vehicles or motorcycles in fleets,
sometimes small, sometimes big. But I think that what the call
to action really should be is to couple that donation with
systematic transport management. To make sure that the assets
that they give stay running. [MUSIC]>>A solution to a big problem
doesn’t have to be a big solution. Simple technology can also save lives.

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