Over 1,100 bicycles distributed to CHWs
Zambia continues to work toward the ambitious goal of eliminating malaria in five zones by 2015. To make this goal a reality, myriad partners are working together on every level from the molecular to the administrative to the on-the-ground Community Health Workers (CHWs). These CHWs are responsible for visiting houses of those who present with active malaria cases at the clinic level and then testing the neighbors in the immediate area through a program Akros helped pilot called Reactive Case Detection. Often the distance to these active cases is significant despite the large number of CHWs, and visiting every case on foot can be an overwhelming and at times unachievable task.
So last week, the Government Republic of Zambia in partnership with PATH-MACEPA, Akros and World Bicycle Relief distributed over 1,100 bicycles to community health workers across seven districts in Zambia’s southern province. The distribution ceremonies took place from February 10 – 14 and were attended by village chiefs and leaders, ministry officials and partner organizations. The ceremonies included dramas, dancing, and an official handover of each and every bicycle to the very excited CHWs.
“I am very happy that you have brought us these bicycles,” said Sikomo Zulu, a CHW from Choma. “I think it will help the program because instead of the patient having to come to the clinic, I will be able to reach their place.” He was referring to the idea that there is a much greater chance of achieving the program’s goals of following up on every positive case if the CHW can go directly to the village rather than waiting and hoping the patient comes to the clinic.
The bicycles were all painted bright orange and branded with the Test4Life logo, adding to the recognition of these CHWs as trusted partners when they arrive in a given village. The buffalo bicycles themselves are durable, specifically engineered for the harsh field conditions they will be up against on the backroads and village trails of Zambia. They are built to be compatible with locally available spare parts, ensuring that with proper maintenance they will last for years. Read more about the bikes and World Bicycle Relief here.
Want to learn more about how Akros is helping to fight malaria? Read more here.