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."