The picture is enough expressive and it is the one of an ambulance, another prototype of motorcycle-ambulance, in the Mosango health area, in the province of Bandundu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
It is this vehicle (a trailer with an adapted mattress hanging behind a motorcycle) that is used as evacuation means by the health center of the zone to the hospital while is takes at least 140 km on foot or by bicycle.
The initiative that is a solution for the difficult access of this locality of 115 000 inhabitants to health care mainly in case of emergency, comes from the medical NGO, MEMISA, specialized in the sector of primary health care.
This locality is a part of many other isolated localities in the world, connected by roads in a very poor condition, not served by a public transportation and lacking in GSM network, and the list goes on.
« I already lost a child on my way towards the hospital. Tired of a 30 km walk, my child already died when I arrived at the hospital. The male nurse told me that the delivery would be difficult. This time, I refused to walk, I asked for the motorcycle-ambulance« , declared Dildo, a 28-year-old young woman.
The managing staff of the MEMISA NGO reassures that « the transfer of the sick persons towards the hospital is then much less risky and faster« .
But the populations should contribute.
Indeed, a community cash register system is established in the health center of the area or in the central hospital. This cash register will allow collecting what is required to pay the driver, the fuel and the maintenance of the motorcycle.
Thus, 350 FCFA (approximately 0,30 €) as additional fees must be paid by every patient consulted. And the transfer fees of a patient with the motorcycle-ambulance is 1 000 FCFA (0,89 €).
As the saying is, good health is invaluable.
Original text by: Blaise AKAME