In Zambia, Riders for Health currently offers fleet management services in both Eastern and Southern Provinces through our offices and workshops in Chipata and Livingstone, respectively.
Sample Transport (ST)
In Eastern Province, Riders has been supporting the Ministry of Health (MoH) since 1999 with a ST system in Chadiza district. Since then, we have added a second district, Nyimba, and we are looking to expand this service across the entire province. Riders currently deploys seven ST couriers to connect health centres to laboratories in Chadiza and Nyimba.
Riders’ motorcycle courier service was specifically designed to reduce the delay in monitoring and diagnosing disease like HIV and tuberculosis (TB).
Dedicated motorcycle couriers transport patient specimens between health centres and the laboratory in a professional, consistent and controlled manner. After analysis, the test results are returned and patients can be started on a suitable course of treatment as soon as possible, if necessary.
Mobilising outreach health workers
In Eastern Province, in co-operation with the MoH, Riders has mobilised ten Environmental Health Technicians (EHTs) with motorcycles across Chadiza and Nyimba districts. These EHTs spend the majority of their time in the communities and villages delivering health care services.
We are also exploring opportunities to manage four-wheeled vehicles to support health care delivery in this region.
A further 76 EHTs have been mobilised with motorcycles in four districts in Southern Province; Kalomo, Mazabuka, Namwala and Choma.
Riders also manage 15 four-wheeled vehicles in partnership with four District Medical Offices, enabling outreach health work and programme supervision.
Stanford University evaluation study
In Southern Province, a research team from Stanford University in California, USA, are monitoring four districts in which Riders works and four control districts. The study will measure the effectiveness of our vehicle fleet management models in supporting and strengthening health care delivery and is being funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Riders works closely with the Ministry of Health in Zambia in order to develop services that respond to need. Our work with Stanford will also allow us to measure the impact our fleet management services have on health care delivery.
- The Ministry of Health (MoH)
- Developing Technologies
- Plan International
- Stanford University Global Supply Chain Management Forum
Zambia is home to almost 13 million people and has made noteworthy progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Yet despite these improvements, Zambia continues to face many challenges. The average life-expectancy is measured at just 43 years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 13% of the population are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS and 11% of children will die before they reach their fifth birthday.
For diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS, one of the major challenges in getting patients on the appropriate treatment is the time delay in the delivery of diagnostic results. It takes 48 hours or less for the results to be processed, but delays in transportation meant that patients could receive their results in anything from three days to one month. A delayed diagnosis for diseases such as TB could put an entire community at risk of infection.
With 36% of the country’s population living in urban areas, Zambia is one of the most urbanised countries in the sub-Saharan region. Furthermore, just 22% of the road networks are paved, and sandy, pot-holed tracks are characteristic of the country’s transport infrastructure.
In 2009, Riders began working with the provincial Ministry of Health (MoH) in Eastern Province, and specifically in Chadiza district. Riders deployed five Sample Transport (ST) couriers to collect patient samples from Chadiza’s 15 health centres. Following the success of the pilot ST project, four environmental health technicians (EHTs) were mobilised in August 2010.
In August 2011, a baseline assessment for the Stanford Evaluation began in Southern Province and we expanded operations in Eastern Province to serve both Chadiza and Nyimba districts.
A partnership with Plan International to manage 13 motorcycles was agreed in January 2012, as well as a contract with the MoH in Nyimba district. This ensured the mobilisation of eight motorcycles and eight four-wheeled vehicles.
Riders’ programme in Southern Province officially launched on 20th January 2012.
Our Sample Transport couriers transported over 300 tests for early infant diagnosis of HIV in 2011. In order for all children infected with HIV to receive essential treatment and care, they must have an early and accurate diagnosis. Without treatment, about one third of children living with HIV will die in their first year of life.
Programme Director: Constance Chibiliti
Constance joined Riders for Health in 2010 managing our programme in Zambia. Constance’s educational background is business management and she has experience working with both for profit and not-for- profit organisations.
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With the received motorized transport, the centre has managed to implement mobile voluntary HIV counselling and testing, malaria testing and family planning which were not being carried out previously. Kenneth Daka, environmental health technician, Bwanunkha regional health centre