TB workers on two-wheels bring faster diagnosis and better treatment in Lesotho

14 April 2011 - Berea, Lesotho - Riders for Health, one of Stop TB's newest partners, is providing TB officers in Lesotho with motorcycles to help them deliver DOTS treatment and educate communities about the risks of TB.

With Riders for Health's help, TB officers like Tukula Mothonyana are able to visit four times as many patients as before and reach villages that would otherwise be inaccessible.

"When I am using the bike it helps me to use the shortcuts and to reach many patients in a little time,’ Tukula says. ‘Sometimes you will go to the bus stop but the buses never go, ‘so they are happy to see me!"

Using motorcycles can also dramatically reduce the time it takes to diagnose TB. In order to receive the necessary drugs, patients must first have a sputum sample test. However, unreliable public transport means that rural health centres struggle to get samples transported to the district laboratory for testing. The process can take up to a month or even longer in some cases, and many samples never arrive.

To tackle the problem, Riders for Health has introduced a courier service to transport samples from the rural health centre to the district laboratory, and deliver them back once the results are ready.

"Now we know that the bike will be here each and every week to collect and bring results," says Lerato Setjeo, a Nursing sister in Lesotho.

With the new service, patients are diagnosed faster and patients can be put on the appropriate course of medication sooner, reducing the risk of further infection.

Riders for Health is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization that manages transportation for healthcare delivery in Africa. The organization's mission is to ensure that men, women and children no longer die of easily preventable and treatable diseases, like tuberculosis, simply because they remain unreached by a healthcare service.

To learn more about Riders for Health, please visit www.riders.org