Friday, September 23, 2016
Distance was by far (no pun intended) the most encompassing challenge. MAHEFA developed solutions to this issue from several angles to ensure life saving health care could reach the most rural families.
Through the effort of CHVs, patients living a great distance from their nearest health clinic were now receiving basic health care. These services included child health, family planning, STD treatment and prevention, hygiene and nutrition.
However, because CHVs are unpaid, MAHEFA encountered a high turnover rate which greatly affected the quality and continuance of care in these rural areas. MAHEFA identified the two top reasons CHVs quit were motivation and mobility.
This introduced a new issue, one of repairs. While CHVs also received training in basic bike maintenance they still lacked the necessary parts and more complex tools to do serious repairs on bikes. So MAHEFA introduced the eBox.
An eBox is a permanent bike shop established in areas where little to no bike services are offered. Community members (often CHVs themselves) were trained in mechanics and sales. This micro-enterprise, operated at the community level, would provide jobs and income and ultimately support the health initiative MAHEFA created.
Through these donation-supplied bike shops, job are created, income generated, transportation provided, and services and parts readily available. EBoxes addressed the issues of motivation AND mobility. Most newly trained staff also report a sense of pride in their community through their new skills and this brand new venture.
Bikes for the World donated and shipped 1,000 bikes in two containers over the past year to support this effort. Additionally, we helped place another 450 bikes in this project through sister organization Working Bikes from Chicago. Both BfW packed containers, were donated directly to the co-op known as Miandrivazo in Menabe.
Monday, September 12, 2016
Transaid has been working in this area of Madagascar for 30 years now. They helped establish several means of emergency transport to bring rural residents to life saving health services. These include ox cart ambulances, hand carried litters, bicycle ambulances, and canoe ambulances. They have also equipped thousands of volunteer health workers with bicycles to help with transportation.
Because the roads are poorly maintained and the terrain is difficult to navigate by motor vehicle transportation is often expensive if accessible at all.
Ten years ago Robin fell gravely ill. His family called the hospital to request an ambulance. The hospital refused to send help.
They were able to flag down a passing car who transported Robin and two other family members to the hospital. That trip cost Robin's family $9. This was one month's salary for his family.
Five years later Robin was operating a bicycle ambulance, "I do it to help my community."
Robin was called to transport a baby in distress. Mahazomaro was only 18 days old when he experienced trouble breathing. Robin transported him to the local clinic, but they were not equipped to treat him there.
Robin then took him to the hospital in the bicycle ambulance where they were able to treat and save baby Mahazomaro. Mom and Dad had given up hope, but thanks to Robin and his bicycle ambulance Mahazomaro is now healthy and doing well.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
In addition to introducing Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) to these rural communities, MAHEFA identified a greater need for emergency transport, ensuring that patients had access to treatments and care not always offered by smaller community clinics.
Since implementing the multi-modal ambulances through MAHEFA, 253 drivers have been trained on emergency transport. 151 ambulances have been provided. 185,053 people now have access to emergency care through ETS.
Each emergency technician is responsible for the care and upkeep of their respective 'ambulance'. Identifying specific needs for bicycle ambulances, including bike parts and trained bike mechanics, MAHEFA sought to support the ETS on a more technical level.
EBoxes were established in four regions of Madagascar to help incentivize CHVs and also help physically support the ETS. The idea was to bring mechanics and spare parts closer to the ETS operation to help support and facilitate the use of these bike ambulances.
|Robin Erinesy operates his bike ambulance whenever called|
The mutuelle helps families afford transport, care, and medicines to help keep their families strong and healthy.
And the eBox is the micro-finance initiative behind the motivation and success of CHVs, ETS, and the mutuelle.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
In January 2014 John was well on his way to earning his Eagle rank with Troop 1212. This honor is a prestigious rank among scouts and one that is not easy to attain. A Life Scout must earn at least 21 badges and show many leadership skills that often include outdoor activities in the wilderness.
Often times the final step before becoming an Eagle Scout is the Eagle Project. Many guys are rushing to complete this last goal before reaching their 18th birthday, the cut off to complete the project.
In February of 2014, while John was out riding his bike with friends, he was hit by car. The accident left him with severe swelling of the brain and spinal damage. He had surgeries to reduce the swelling and remained in the hospital for many months. There were questions if John would walk or even talk again.
A friend suggested Bikes for the World and John instantly fell in love with the mission. Given the family's connection with bikes, this project was a perfect match. "I like the bike project because it's something that I'm passionate about," said John in an interview promoting the collection event held in August.
But John rose to the challenge. For a guy known for making people smile and encouraging action he had no trouble rallying a group of volunteers from his troop and his church. He reached out to bike shops and police departments to secure early donations and trailers full of bikes kept arriving the day of the collection.
Did he meet his goal? Did he ever! Troop 1212 led by John Abendroth collected 181 bikes (and still counting) for Bikes for the World on that hot August day. We had to scramble by 10am to find a solution to transport them all, including two adult trikes. We ended up making two trips to the warehouse. The bikes John collected will be included in our next shipment next week heading to CESTA El Salvador.
A John Abendroth fan and friend said it best, "You're JOHN ABENDROTH. You can do anything."
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
|Photo: Robin Hammond, JSIMAHEFA Program USAIDMadagascar|
Communicating information and delivering basic health related supplies, some as simple as soap, are huge first steps in battling disease and even death in small rural communities.
Our partner in Madagascar is focused on providing health services across six remote regions in north and northwest Madagascar. This program is known locally as MAHEFA, a USAID-funded project.
Over the course of the program 6,052 community health volunteers (CHVs) were trained, equipped, and supervised to provide basic health services in the areas of maternal, newborn, and child health; family panning and reproductive health, including sexually transmitted infections, water, sanitation, and hygiene; nutrition; and malaria treatment and prevention at the community level.
The biggest obstacle for these CHVs is reaching the families who depend on them for basic health services. The primary challenge identified through MAHEFA was one of transportation.
Almost half of the villages in this region are inaccessible by motor vehicle for at least four months of the year due to the rainy season. One fifth are inaccessible for nearly half the year, placing residents at risk. While public transportation does exist for some areas, at some times of the year, it is frequently insufficient, unreliable, and/or expensive. As their title suggests, CHVs work on a voluntary basis and therefore receive no compensation to offset travel expenses.
The effort to supply bikes was to solve several issues in providing care in these remote areas. Assisting CHVs in transportation to patients, medical supplies, and support meetings were key aspects of the program. Additionally, providing an incentive to CHVs, working long hours for free, was also a priority.
An unintended response came from patients who ended up respecting caregivers arriving on bicycle more than those on foot. In Menabe women perceived that CHVs who arrived at their homes on bicycle were providing services of higher value. The social status of CHVs soared just by owning a bicycle. This also increased the CHVs motivation level to perform their jobs.
MAHEFA identified four of these regions in which to place accessible bike shops, called eBoxes. An eBox is often staffed by CHVs, providing an even greater incentive by offering a salary to those employees. Used bikes donated from the UK and USA (Bikes for the World) were delivered to these eBoxes along with a supply of used parts.
These micro enterprises assist CHVs with parts and repairs of their bicycles. The shipments of used bikes from overseas also help fund the shops as well as contribute to the health related activities of the communes. Bikes for the World sent its second shipment of bikes to this project just last week.
Sunday, August 28, 2016
|From Arnaud Flickr|
The USAID-funded Madagascar Community-Based Integrated Health Project known locally as MAHEFA is focused on providing basic, quality health care to isolated populations in six north and northwestern regions of Madagascar (DIANA, SAVA, Sofia, Menabe, Boeny and Melaky). This project's funding ended last year, however, a new grant was just awarded to continue and expand the important work in Madagascar.
Bikes for the World donated several containers of bikes and spare parts to this project over the last year. Bikes are fixed up by MAHEFA trained mechanics and sold to local families who use them for school and work. Many farmers are buying and using bikes to help tend to their crops and carry produce to market.
The profits from the bike sales and repairs are being used to support health initiatives in these small rural communities. The co-ops benefit from paid dividends, employees receive a small salary for work in the shop, and other revenue helps support the Emergency Transport System and health insurance in the community.
Contributors, JSI and Transaid
Thursday, August 18, 2016
|Katie with Team USA from Instagram|
Exactly what you see. Katie brought to Bikes for the World exactly what she brought to the Olympics. She was dedicated, a hard worker, and a team player.
There are really three things we heard during the Olympics that stuck with us. #1 Katie told us all to enjoy the journey. This is something we saw in our warehouse every other week not just with Katie but the entire Stone Ridge crew.
|Ken with Yvette|
Katie had this to say about working with Mr. Woodard: "He is a wonderful role model for all of us as his dedication and his willingness to help others is so evident. He demonstrates how important it is to help others, and how much fun can result from doing so."
|Katie's first day at King Farm|
|Kaite with her Social Action Team|
Katie Ledecky never once forgot Team USA. And she never once put herself ahead of anyone else in the Social Action program. Katie was just another student in our warehouse. When we met her she already had one Olympic Gold medal and she went on to break world records the entire time she was with us. But in our warehouse she joined her friends and teammates, pulling pedals off bikes and wheeling bikes on trailers.
|Rolling bikes for the Philippines|
Likewise, Wheels of Africa in Kenya sent this message before the Olympics, "We look forward to watching Katie Ledecky as she competes in the Olympics. We wish her all the best." Katie not only brought together the USA, but the whole world took notice and cheered her on.
Congratulations Katie and thank you for your service. Welcome home. We can't help but think of everything Katie has brought to Bikes for the World and wonder how much of that Stone Ridge brought to her initially. Katie Ledecky, hands covered in grease, and a heart of gold.