High poverty and HIV/AIDS rates in rural Zambia mean that a large percentage of the population needs medical care. That care is typically provided by Community Health Volunteers (CHVs). These caregivers must walk to their patients’ homes, which can add up to many miles per day. We’re spotlighting one CHV who transformed healthcare in her community when she acquired a Buffalo Bicycle.
Royce is a CHV in rural Zambia who takes care of sick adults and children in her village and nearby.
“I became a caregiver because I have a passion for helping people,” Royce told us. Before, Royce would have to wake up before dawn so she could do her own house chores before walking for miles to reach her patients. Even though Royce worked tirelessly, she could only see up to four patients in a single day. While she had endless passion, time and distance limited her impact.
In 2008, things changed: Royce acquired a Buffalo Bicycle. Now, instead of just being able to see four patients in a day, Royce can care for up to eighteen! This includes providing treatment to HIV/AIDS patients, the elderly, and orphans and vulnerable children in the surrounding villages. Royce had endless potential and a strong desire to help others. But she was held back by the daily challenges of time and distance. With her Buffalo Bicycle, Royce works more efficiently, with less physical effort.
“My village has a bright future because people are now more open about AIDS education. I hope by the year 2018 everyone will know their AIDS status and will have the necessary prevention and treatment knowledge. I hope there will be less stigmatization and less discrimination against the sick,” Royce says.
Now when Royce rides by, people in her village say, “There goes our caregiver on her bike!”
Home visits are an essential component of healthcare in rural Zambia. With a bicycle, caregivers’ travel time is reduced so they can care for more patients, reach patients faster in an emergency, and save their energy for patient care rather than walking.