Motorcycle Ambulances save mothers’ lives in Guinea
"As stated earlier, infrastructural problems such as impassable roads during rainy seasons in rural areas do limit access to healthcare facilities. In the face of this challenge, some rural communities in the Kissidougou region of southeastern Guinea have found an innovative solution that is proving to be effective in combating both maternal and child mortality. They are using a system of 'motorcycle ambulances;' these are three-wheeled motorbikes outfitted with small trailers that can carry one health worker and a reclining patient. A regional hospital in Kissidougou performs as many as 30 cesareans each month all paid for by the Government of Guinea.
"Motorcycle ambulances are usually parked at rural health centers around the region ready, day or night, to pick up pregnant women from interior villages and bring them to health centers for medical attention and if it becomes necessary, to take them on to the regional hospital. And this ride is free.
"One practitioner, Mory Sano, who is the chief medical officer at the rural health center in Fermissedou, says their motorcycle ambulance has had a profound positive impact in the community. He said they can now reach pregnat women in even the farthest villages. This access to healthcare would not have been possible without the motorcycles. Thanks to them, he says, more women and babies are alive.
"The motorcycle ambulance service commenced in 2008 and is provided as part of an initiative by a local health co-operative called MURIGA. The first MURIGA programme was established in 1997 as a collaboration between the government of Guinea and the United Nations Children and Education Fund (UNICEF)."
"MURIGA hopes to extend its insurance coverage to all children under the age of 5 in the Kissidougou region. If this is done successfully, it will greatly reduce child mortality rates in the region, which is currently high by international standards."
Sources:Searchlight Centre for Democracy and Development, Jun 2010, pg 7: