Our female drivers saving lives
On International Women’s Day, Caroline Barber, Transaid’s Head of Programmes, shares an update: We have a range of Intermediate Modes of Transport based on what communities already use, accept culturally, can maintain, and that are suitable for the terrain. For example, in Mongu in Western Zambia, where there is deep sand, we use ox and carts.
In an interesting development from the first phase we now have a number of female Emergency Transport Scheme (ETS) ox and cart operators. They are not just taking women to health facilities during labour, but taking groups of women for antenatal care and postnatal care visits, and also to mother’s waiting homes in some instances.
In Serenje we have one female bicycle ambulance rider who took two women in labour at the same time on her bicycle ambulance – one lady in the trailer and one on the parcel rack. Clearly not the most comfortable way to travel, but if there was no other choice…
When we started the original programme people told us that women are not strong enough to operate the transport, or they can’t travel alone. Clearly someone forgot to tell this remarkable female ETS rider who did it anyway.
Here’s to these inspiring women taking charge of their own health and, increasingly, their own transport!
Photo info: The woman on the far right is an ETS rider Joesphine. Next to her is Ruth, MORE MAMaZ’s district programme officer.