A courier waits to take samples from a facility in rural Malawi to the main district lab. Courtesy of Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Riders for Health

Health workers in Malawi are using the power of two wheels to reach HIV patients living in remote areas.

In Malawi, motorcycles can zoom across narrow, unpaved pathways, easily traversing shrubs and creeks to reach HIV-positive patients. That's why Riders for Health and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation are using them to literally squeeze through the health-care bottlenecks in Malawi's northern and central districts.

In 2013, 170,000 children were living with HIV in Malawi, many in remote areas where it's difficult to access HIV testing, prevention services, and medication. The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation has been providing these services since 2001. Now, they've enlisted the assistance of the Riders—a 20-year-old organization that provides vehicles and trains community health workers to operate them in seven countries across Africa.   

In Malawi right now, there are 34 health riders; eight of them are assigned to the fight against HIV as a part of the collaboration with the foundation. In a BBC News Magazine video by journalists Victoria Gill and Eldson Chagara, the first two couriers who completed training tell their stories.  

Before the partnership began, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation had learned of instances where blood samples drawn from infants had never reached the testing lab because of transportation problems. The children's caregivers were reluctant to let them be tested a second time. But now, the couriers visit two to three sites a day, twice a week; the approach is more systematic, and the community's trust has climbed, says spokesperson Johanna Harvey. The more timely delivery of test results has also helped ease the anxiety of waiting families.

Health workers can access harder-to-reach patients on motorcycles in Malawi. (Courtesy of Riders for Health)

(H/T BBC Health Check)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of the Eiffel Tower with the words "Made for Sharing" projected on it
    Life

    How France Tries to Keep English Out of Public Life

    France has a long history of using official institutions to protect the French language from outside influence. Still, English keeps working its way in.

  2. Warren Logan
    Transportation

    A City Planner Makes a Case for Rethinking Public Consultation

    Warren Logan, a Bay Area transportation planner, has new ideas about how to truly engage diverse communities in city planning. Hint: It starts with listening.

  3. an illustration depicting a map of the Rio Grande river
    Maps

    Between Texas and Mexico, a Restless Border Defies the Map

    In El Paso, we call it the Rio Grande; our neighbors in Juárez know it as Río Bravo. It’s supposed to be a national border, but the river had its own ideas.

  4. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  5. A portrait collage of famous thinkers, writers, planners, and designers
    Design

    CityLab University: The Who’s Who of Urbanism

    15 people who changed how we plan, design, think about, and live in cities.

×