It is much more that a source of transportation which gets you from point A to point B. It can be the difference between life and death. Consider this excerpt from the article titled What Saves Lives? Security, Assess to Health Services from the International Rescue Committee, December 2004. Click on the link to read the entire article.
Ambulances are scarce, and the majority of the population moves around on foot,
with few having access to a bicycle and even fewer to a motorcycle.
While on a recent visit to a small, isolated health post in Kasai Occidentale province, IRC staff happened upon a woman who had been in labor for two days. The situation was life-threatening, and until the IRC team arrived, the only method of transport would have been a bicycle.
“There was a severe danger of the woman’s uterus rupturing,” says Willy Mvita, project manager for Demba, one of over 500 health zones in the country. “The woman was brought out to the IRC vehicle and rushed to a hospital some 40 kilometers away where a caesarean section was performed. The mother and child are now doing well, but both would have died had it not been for the coincidence of a vehicle.”
In a country with very limited transportation, having a vehicle at the hospital is a necessity. The Bulape Hospital relies heavily on it’s only vehicle to perform a wide range of tasks including picking up supplies and delivering medicine. Also, as the reference hospital for the Congo’s Health Zone System for the Bulape area, the Bulape doctor must visit the 26 health clinics in its zone which covers a population of 150,000 scattered over an area the size of Connecticut. Poor road conditions, including wash-outs during the rainy season, necessitate the vehicle be rugged and sturdy to make it in the bush. In the past, Toyota Land Cruisers have proven to be the best choice for the job. Outfitted to double as an ambulance, the Land Cruiser has a base price of $40,000 and needs to be replaced at least every four years. It really is an invaluable piece of medical equipment.
Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) Vehicular transportation must be expanded to serve this large area better, but at a cost of $40,000 each, an adequate number of Land Cruisers would be cost prohibitive. We have identified an affordable transportation solution known as the Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) costing only $2500 each, rugged enough to handle regional roads, and versatile enough to serve many areas of need. The BUV has a simple design and is easy to operate and maintain. The BUV can be used to deliver supplies, medicine, and equipment to the clinics as well as an ambulance to ferry a patient to the hospital. In addition, we believe the BUV can be outfitted and accessorized to function as a mobile power plant, pumping station, and grinding mill. Congo Helping Hands is seeking partners to help engineer and test the added accessories to the originally delivered BUV. If you are interested in working with us, please contact Woody Collins by email