We love hearing about how motorcycles are not only a great recreational pursuit and as commuters, but also for a range of other practical and humanitarian uses.
For example, we have published articles about how they are used for couriering blood and other samples such as coronavirus testing by Blood Bikes Australia volunteers.
We even published an article about how motorcycles are useful in combatting ebola in Africa.
Now we can report that motorcycle ambulances are being used in rural Africa to help reduce the maternal mortality rate.
Swedish multinational technology company Semcon has partnered with Eezer Initiativet to develop the motorcycle ambulances and make it easier for pregnant women and new mothers to get to hospitals.
In the African countryside, the nearest hospital can be a long way away, and getting there often means travelling through rough terrain.
By using ambulance wagons towed behind motorcycles, more women can get access to care and maternal mortality can be reduced.
Twenty-five ambulance wagons are being tested in Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Somalia, Chad and Burkina Faso.
The long-term goal is to have 3,000 wagons in place around Africa by 2030.
“It’s been amazing to work for such a good cause. We’ve been working across office boundaries at Semcon and it’s been a really rewarding project,” says Kristina Svahnström, Human Factors Specialist at Semcon, who participated in the project.
Semcon helped to develop the concept using a design to protect the patient from rain and road dust, a towing solution to prevent the wagon from overturning, and a new wagon for a mobile clinic that can be driven out to villages and markets.
“It’s been extremely gratifying to work with Semcon and develop a great and sustainable product. We are committed to really trying to understand the users and to creating a design that is easy to use, with the longest service life possible,” says Lars Klingsbo, coordinator at Eezer.
Lars hopes they can extend the ambulance wagons throughout Africa.