The Riders for Health programmes we support run motorcycles across seven countries. They are used by community health workers to reach villages and by sample transporters to collect and return test results.
The programmes we support use motorbikes originally designed for agricultural work. The Yamaha AG100 and AG200 are some of the most popular, but Honda and Suzuki motorcycles are also used. Designed to work well on unsurfaced roads, steep gradients and in any weather, they are perfect for the job. They cost approximately £2000 (or US$) are economical on fuel use and parts are inexpensive.
But why bikes, what about the alternatives?
Donkeys and bicycles are cheap, but they don’t offer the speed that a motorcycle can. And cars are comfortable and fast but they are expensive to buy and run and even 4x4s don’t cope well with much of the terrain that health workers must pass to reach communities in Africa.
Community Health workers often have 10 villages to look after and time is valuable. Travelling by foot wastes valuable time. Any time spent travelling is time that isn’t spent caring in the community. Sample transporters need to get biological samples (like blood and urine tests etc) to labs speedily.
They do have other vehicles, 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.