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Mothers and children at clinic The Gambia

The Challenges

Health workers: doctors, nurses, midwives and more, are essential to the health of people the world over. They immunise babies, diagnose diseases, monitor child development and care for women in labour, the elderly and the sick. But many people in Africa struggle to access these services that people in other parts of the world take for granted.

Travelling by donkey cart, The Gambia 2018

In many parts of Africa travelling by donkey cart is still commonplace.

Throughout the African continent, it’s common to see sick people and even women in labour using donkey carts, wheelbarrows or even by carrying family members for many miles on their backs so they can reach a medical centre or hospital. 

In most African countries, private transport is expensive and public transport is practically non-existent outside major cities.

For anybody trying to run a vehicle there is nothing like the network of garages and service centres we rely on in the developed nations to keep vehicles well maintained. The terrain is often difficult with many unsurfaced tracks and even rocky steep gradients. The problems go on.

Without professional help, women give birth alone or have to rely on female relatives or traditional birth attendants…, putting their lives in grave danger if complications arise. Women, particularly in rural areas, may live miles from any health centre…only just over half of women in Africa will give birth in a health centre.

Liz Ford, The Guardian, UK “Why do women still die giving birth?”

So you can imagine that for African governments trying to provide reliable fleets of medical vehicles is a difficult and risky business. And the consequences of poor service are deadly.

Cars broken down in Africa because of lack of maintenance

Vehicles lie in the ditch because of lack of maintenance

If medical vehicles break down, clinics don’t get run, tests are delayed and women with complications give birth unaided.

We support Riders for Health because they have found a solution to the deathly problem of poor transport infrastructure in Africa.

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Children at well - The Gambia 2018

Children drawing water at a well – A remote village, The Gambia

The challenges

Many women give birth without professional help largely due living far from medical centres and hospitals. We support programmes that provide transport for women in life-threatening labour.

  • 60%

    Of African women give birth without a skilled help

    WHO data

  • 63%

    Of African population live in hard-to-reach rural areas

    World Bank open data

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A Tale of Two Villages: A Story of Life and Death in Lesotho

On a recent, sunlit Thursday morning, Maria Gonzalez, board member of Two Wheels for Life, stood beneath a tough old tree and looked at the insides of Lesotho. What she saw was a landscape that is unlike any other, anywhere.

Read about the challenges in Lesotho