December 04, 2003

Groups Donate 200 Bicycles to African Health Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Lisa Peterson – 212-629-8001

Donation of the bicycles was made possible by a partnership between Tour D’Afrique and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), an NGO based in New York City, with generous support from the Rotary Club Leusden in Holland.

The new six speed bicycles, designed for African terrain and conditions, will be given to health care workers and trainers in rural areas of along the Tour D’Afrique route.  Lack of transportation options is a barrier faced by many health care providers across Africa – many of whom walk from village to village to provide care.

Bicycles are a cost-effective, efficient, and environmentally-sound manner to overcome these transportation barriers.  In pilot projects in Africa, bicycles have been shown to increase outreach efforts by 50 percent.  Having health care workers on bikes:

  • Reaches patients too sick to travel;
  • Reaches a greater audience with outreach and education; and
  • Provides care to geographically dispersed settlements that cannot support a clinic unto themselves.

Tour d’Afrique 2004 is the second running of the trans-Africa race. The 100-day Tour will cover 11,500 km and traverse 10 African countries: Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

“We plan to distribute at least 200 bicycles, hopefully much more than that. It depends on how much additional funds we can raise from the public.  For US$75 we can deliver one bicycle to a health care worker,” said Michael de Jong.

“Lack of transport and poor transportation systems are key factors in hampering the delivery of basic health care services,” said ITDP Africa Director Paul White.  Bicycling is on average three-times faster than walking, and significantly less costly than motorcycles and cars.  Bicycles offer a low-cost, efficient, and sustainable way to increase the ability of service providers to reach their clients.”

“The Rotary Club is excited about this opportunity to help nurses reach more patients and do our part to address the health crisis in Africa,” said Martijn van der Jagt from the Leusden Rotary Club, which raised 10,000 Euro for bicycles.

The Tour d’Afrique begins on January 17th, in Cairo and ends on May 15th in Cape Town.

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