Bikes for the World

Friday, June 5, 2015

Madagascar: BfW Bikes To Help Health Care Workers

According to the Cabinet Director of the Madagascar Ministry of Health, Family Planning and Social Protection, only 60-70% of the population in Madagascar - those who live closest to roads - have any access to healthcare and many need to walk over ten kilometers to seek health services. The USAID-funded Madagascar Community-Based Integrated Health Project (MAHEFA) is a five-year health program that is working to provide basic, quality health care to isolated populations in Madagascar. One of the project’s key goals is increasing access to such services, which is where Bike’s for the World’s partner Transaid and local implementing organization ONG Lalana come in.

The regions where the MAHEFA program is being implemented are very rural, meaning health workers have limited access to clients and the population has limited access to services. Moreover, all of the community health workers work on a voluntary basis - they receive only a small margin on health commodities that they sell. For this reason, many of them lack motivation. Transaid and ONG Lalana are both working on removing the barrier to access and incentivizing health workers with the help of bikes from Bikes for the World.

The bikes provided will be repaired and sold by cooperatives of community health workers. The health workers themselves will receive bikes for free or at discounts to help them see more clients. The remaining bikes will be sold at affordable prices to individuals in their communities, helping them access affordable transportation and allowing them to more easily seek treatment and other services themselves.

The impact of the bikes, however, does not stop at their distribution. Revenues generated from sales will help incentivize the community health workers in their role by providing a little extra income. A portion of the revenue will also go towards supporting other health initiatives in the community such as maternal health projects. The impact is therefore multiplied. A bike does not just help one person. Each bike can help a health worker, a sick patient, a community member, and even the healthcare system as a whole.

The project will begin under Transaid as part of the MAHEFA program and will over time be transferred to ONG Lalana, their local partner, so that the project may continue for many years to come, long after the end of the MAHEFA mandate.

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