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Healthworker riding motorcycle, The Gambia

Why Motorcycles?

People often ask us why we support programmes that use motorcycles. Find out why they are uniquely suited to the job.

70Community health workers can have ten villages to look after at a time, and with villages spaced miles apart that adds up to a lot of walking.

We believe that the time and energy taken travelling by foot is better spent working with people in communities. 

So why motorcycles? Well, donkeys and bicycles are cheap, but they don’t offer the speed or comfort that a motorcycle can. And cars are comfortable and fast but they are expensive to buy and run. Even 4x4s don’t cope well with much of the terrain that many health workers across Africa need to cover.

A fleet of Yamaha AG100s joins the fleet

Yamaha AG100 and AG200 models are some of the most popular, but Honda and Suzuki motorcycles are also used. The motorbikes used were originally designed for agricultural work so on unsurfaced roads, steep gradients and in any weather, they are perfect for the job. Costing approximately £2000 (or US$), they are economical on fuel use and parts are inexpensive.

Sometimes other vehicles are needed. For instance,  larger 4×4 vehicles are needed to transport many health staff to run an outreach clinic, or an ambulance is required for emergency referrals. But for single health workers, when speed and cost are of the essence, it’s the motorcycle that’s the right tool for the job.

Advantages of motorcycles

We support programmes that run large fleets of motorcycles for health workers across Africa, getting care to remote communities.

  • CHEAP

    Cheap to buy and run

    Less expensive than a car or truck, motorcycles cost approximately £2k (US$), use less fuel & parts are cheaper.

  • FIT

    Ideal for the terrain

    Agricultural motorbikes originally designed for farm work are ideal for unsurfaced tracks and steep gradients.

  • FAST

    Deliver care quickly

    Speed is important to disease diagnosis to prevent spread and for emergency care.

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Why Bikes are Best for Healthcare Delivery in Africa

Sal has been working with Riders for Health, whose programmes we support, since he was sixteen. Now he is head motorcycle technician at Riders for Health in the Gambia, Riders and a motorcycle rider himself.

Find out why Sal thinks bikes are best
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The plague that won’t give up, and why motorcycles are the solution

Malaria. Such a pretty word. But of course there is nothing pretty about this ruthless killer disease. So what’s the problem? Well, it's transport. There are wonderfully effective drugs and nets but they don't spontaneously fly through the air and deliver themselves.