Our early work with HIV/AIDS home based care volunteers showed that in many cases clients were being transported to health facilities on the luggage racks of bicycles, or were not able to go at all. To improve Namibians’ access to health care we have developed and are now manufacturing bicycle-pulled ambulances. The ambulances are ‘stretchers on wheels’ that attach to normal bicycles and tow a sick person or pregnant woman to a hospital or clinic where no other transport is available.
Between 2006-2012, we designed, manufactured and delivered over 100 ambulances with training in use and a discussion on management, and monitored their use closely through follow-up field visits. Data on their use helped us improve both design and delivery, and we are happy to share our learnings and designs with other organisations.
In 2016, we began work revisiting our bicycle ambulance design, and began retrofitting them with motorcycle tyres, combined with wide-tyred electric bicycles, with the aim of making them more versatile and reliable in Namibia’s sandy, thorny expanses. This work is being implemented in parternship with SunCycles Namibia with funding from Transaid.