UK-based Riders for Health, an operator of healthcare delivery transport systems in sub-Saharan Africa, has announced a five-year, $11.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support a partnership with Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.
Organizations working in Africa often lack the funding and expertise to operate vehicles properly in difficult conditions, leaving resources wasted and people wanting for health care. To provide reliable motorized mobility for African healthcare workers, Riders has developed an innovative technical system for operating motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles so they rarely break down. The system incorporates regularly scheduled preventive and long-range mechanical maintenance as well as comprehensive safe driving and riding training.
With funding from the Gates Foundation, Riders' teams in the United Kingdom and Africa will work with the business school's Global Supply Chain Management Forum to measure and demonstrate the link between reliable transport and improved healthcare coverage, particularly in rural communities. Riders hopes to prove that its work results in at least a 45 percent increase in health workers' productivity, a 30 percent increase in coverage of key healthcare interventions, and at least an 80 percent improvement in efficiency and effectiveness of vehicle fleet management.
"Unfailing reliability and full mobilization means that the work of African governments in preventive and public-health guidance and in specific disease-care and immunization programs can be carried out with no unexpected downtime due to lack of transport," said Riders for Health co-founder and executive director Barry Coleman. "Our transport systems have the potential to transform the delivery of health care across the whole of sub-Saharan Africa and now, with the added focus on evaluation brought by this partnership, we will be able to take it to a still larger scale."