"The way health systems are designed, managed and financed affects people's lives and livelihoods. The difference between a well performing health system and one that is failing can be measured in death, disability, impoverishment, humiliation, and despair."
ITDP Europe has over 10 years of successful experience working in Africa to increase accessibility through sustainable and affordable transportation development. Transportation can and often is key to improving access to employment opportunities, local markets, healthcare and better quality of life. Communication in healthcare is essential for patient referrals and emergency transportation.
The goal of ITDP Europe's Health Care Program is to better connect transportation modes and communication systems by providing equipment that can enhance access to health facilities in a timely manner. For instance, radio communication systems and mobile phones can be coupled with motorcycles, bicycles, bicycle ambulances, horse or donkey trailers to determine if a doctor is available or notify a health facility that a patient is on the way.
More than 500,000 women die during childbirth each year worldwide. Most of them could be saved if brought in time to a health care centre. To receive at least the lowest level of health care, pregnant women often have to walk long distances. Sometimes they are carried with a hand made stretcher - an exhausting process for both the patient and the carriers. Studies show that two out of three transported patients are pregnant women.
Bicycle ambulances have proven to be an efficient and appropriate transportation mode for up to a 20 km radius in rural Uganda, Ghana and South Africa. They last 5 times longer then car ambulances and can also be used on small path and easily be maintained by the local mechanics. Car ambulances are often unreliable due to expensive maintenance costs and dependence on uncertain fuel provisions. The price of 200 bicycle ambulances is equivalent to the cost of 1 car ambulance
ITDP Europe is working on a health care project in Katakwi (northeast of Uganda) together with its project partner FABIO, located in Jinja (Uganda). The positive impact of the Health Care Project in this region is underscored by improved health statistics. For this reason, ITDP Europe is working to improve linkages between transportation and communication in many other rural areas. Anyone from any remote area should have equal access to health facilities. Then more and more lives can be saved.
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