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 2009 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 six 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 21 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
Between October 2011 and March 2014, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded the Value Chain Innovation (VCI) Institute at Stanford University to undertake a study into the impact of Riders’ fleet management services in eight districts of Southern Province, Zambia. The VCI focused their study on motorcycle fleets in Zambia and concluded that the full management of health workers’ motorcycles, regular preventative maintenance and training enabled the health workers to travel on average nearly 10 kilometres further per trip.
Health workers were able to not only travel further but also visit more people more frequently. The study found that this greater productivity and efficiency resulted in an increase in the preventative health care services provided.
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 15 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 52 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 40% 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, five 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 the MoH in Nyimba district was agreed in 2011. This was initially for the management of eight motorcycles and eight four-wheeled vehicles.
Riders’ programme in Southern Province officially launched on 20th January 2012. In September 2012, an additional EHT was mobilised.
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 manager: 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