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Bicycle ambulances in Malawi

Caoimhe Gaskin | 08 December 2014 | 1 Comment

Many Malawians live on less than a dollar a day, with some health centres being as far as 16km away, this poses a serious issue in an emergency situation. Here, Christina tells us her story. 

Christina's story

 Christina stands outside her home in rural Malawi. Photo taken by Alice Gandiwa.

Christina Yosefe is looking forward to the birth of her third child. She lives in Mwansambo, rural Malawi with her daughter Eunice.

Sadly, she had lost her previous child, so when she was suddenly gripped by unbearable abdominal pains and a high fever one September evening, she feared the worst. Christina knew she urgently needed to make the 16km journey to her closest health centre:

I knew I needed urgent medical attention but I didn’t know how I was going to get to the health facility.

When word of Christina’s plight reached her village development committee, they promptly sent their bicycle ambulance, provided by Merck for Mothersone of our partners, to collect her. Christina says:

I was so surprised at how quick the bicycle ambulance was to pick me. It was very comfortable and it was free.

Agnes Chimbeleko is responsible for managing the ambulance usage in the in Nkhotakota district. Photo taken by Alice Gandiwa.

Emergency obstetric care

In addition to these services, community volunteers are being trained in emergency obstetric first aid, with patients being supported in transit to health centres. Christina was successfully treated at the health centre and is now enjoying her third trimester. She says:

Thanks to Concern and Merck for Mothers, I will now be earnestly contributing to my village development committee to sustain this initiative!...Being able to get medical treatment quickly saved my life, by the time my family would have gone around trying to find the money for the taxi fare I could have died.

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