Focus on Healthcare Workers- Sierra Leone
The demand for bicycles among healthcare workers continues to grow especially in the middle of the current pandemic. Our partners from the Philippines to Madagascar to Sierra Leone are working to ensure front line workers in the medical field have the bikes they need to get to work and complete home visits.This team of doctors and nurses in Sierra Leone received bikes earlier this year through our partner Village Bicycle Project (VBP). In an informal survey conducted by VBP staff, over 60% of health workers said they would invest in a bicycle to aid their work. Riding a bike also allows them to save up to 25% of their income which they previously spent on transportation fees to and from the hospital. An average healthcare worker in Sierra Leone makes about $100 per month and the money they save by using a bike is substantial.
Currently many areas of Africa are undervaccinated not only because of limited access to vaccines but also due to vaccine skepticism, a challenge many volunteer health workers are working to overcome. The less vaccinated a nation, the more coronavirus will continue to spread and mutate. In more remote areas of Africa this is an even greater concern due to limited treatments and facilities available.
It is also important to note that before the current pandemic, these rural healthcare workers were committed to delivering care and vital information regarding other deadly infections and viruses such as malaria, AIDS/HIV, and Ebola. Because of the recent lockdowns and restrictions to protect against the spread of coronavirus, there have been significant drops in diagnoses, referrals for care, and treatments in many areas of healthcare. Moving forward, with COVID demanding a cut of health budgets and resources, the success of these programs remains threatened. Continued in person care and home visits are critical and bikes have proven safe and effective to those individuals providing care to rural patients.