So what’s the problem?
Trained health care professionals; midwives, nurses and environmental technicians, who serve rural communities are stuck, because no transport, or unreliable transport is the norm. Here’s why:
- In most African countries, private transport is expensive and public transport is practically non-existent outside major cities.
- The vehicles that are present are usually unreliable. This is in part because there is no network of dealerships outside the major cities or service centres to keep vehicles well maintained, and no reliable supply chain for genuine replacement parts and very few trained technicians.
- The terrain is often difficult with many unsurfaced tracks and rocky steep gradients.
- There is little or no support or emphasis on safe rider/driver training.
- And then comes the rainy season!
As a result, trying to deliver even the most basic healthcare – immunisations, bed nets, condoms, medication – is extremely challenging. Stock outs – when healthcare run out of drugs – are very common.