A compelling decade-long story of a bicycle ambulance

By Innocent Bisika

On May 12, 2006 residents of Masamba village in the area of Traditional Authority Malemia in Zomba district, breathed a sigh of relief when YONECO donated a Bicycle Ambulance to transport patients from their respective residential areas to a nearest health facility.

This gesture was employed as a strategy to confront deaths which used to occur in the area as a result of delays in dealing with emergency health cases. This was due to the fact that the area had no reliable means of transportation.

According to Peter Chapola, who is the chairperson of the village’s Tikondwe Development Club (TDC), which also looks after the ambulance, the donation was made following a call by the villagers to have a form of transport to ferry patients and expectant women to hospital.

Chapola further explained how the ambulance has helped to transform and improve the lives of people living in Masamba as well as neighboring villages for over adecade.

Commenting on the same, Group Village Head (GHV) Masamba explained how his people struggled to go to a nearest health facility (Domasi Hospital) for treatment.

“This village is separated by the Domasi Hospital by a 16 KM journey and before the bicycle ambulance which YONECO gave us, many people were losing their lives from treatable illnesses. Expectant women used to deliver on their way to hospital and many lost their lives and babies,” explained GVH Masamba.

One of the beneficiaries of the ambulance, Donex Master of Lupale village in the same area, concurred with the GVH Masamba’s sentiments.

“I could not have been talking to you today if it was not for this bicycle ambulance,” stated Donex while smiling.

“It was during the night of the 15th December, 2017, when a heavy stone which was used to balance the roof of my house abruptly slipped down and hit my head. The stone left a deep cut which bled profusely.

“My head started swelling and pounding. I could have bled to death. Thereafter, my wife informed the TDC Chairperson about the incident who immediately instructed his colleagues to take me on the bicycle ambulance to the hospital,” Master said.

Patrick Chigumula, a Health Surveillance Assistant at Domasi hospital, applauded YONECO for donating the ambulance.

Chigumula said since the donation, the hospital has registered very few cases of patients dying due to long distances between their village and the hospital.

In addition, Chapola said that the ambulance is also used as a hearse to carry corpses from the mortuary back to the village.

However, Chapola called on YONECO and other organizations to donate more bicycle ambulances to other remote and rural parts of the country.

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