Tina Rosenberg and David Bornstein relay the story of reliable transportation and maintenance, and how it can save lives:
Until 2008 [health assistant Tsepo] Kotelo could visit only three villages a week, because he had to reach them on foot, walking for miles and miles. But in February of that year, Kotelo got a motorcycle the best vehicle for reaching rural villages in Africa, most of which are nowhere near a real road. Just as crucial, he was given the tools to keep the bike on the road: he received a helmet and protective clothing, he was taught to ride and trained to start each day with a quick check of the bike. His motorcycle is also tuned up monthly by a technician who comes to him.
Now, instead of spending his days walking to his job, he can do his job. Instead of visiting three villages each week, he visits 20. Where else can you find a low-tech investment in health care that increases patient coverage by nearly 600 percent? ...
[Riders For Health] dramatizes the importance of paying attention to the scruffy and mundane parts of a system, especially delivery. Businesses understand this. If Federal Express didn’t maintain its trucks, it would go bankrupt. The same applies to social interventions.
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