In January 2008, Riders began managing a national motorcycle fleet that mobilised outreach health workers across all ten districts. With reliable transportation, health worker productivity has increased with more than double the number of people visited and three times the number of villages visited each week.
Dougie Lampkin is in Lesotho training Riders for Health couriers who use motorbikes to reach some of the most remote parts of southern Africa and provide crucial healthcare provision.
Dougie Lampkin is an English professional motorcycle trials and endurocross rider. He is renowned throughout the world as the upstart who showed the big boys how it was done.
“Visiting Lesotho to see the work of Riders for Health has really changed my life,” Dougie shared with Motorcycle News publication. “I can see how motorcycles really are an absolutely vital part of access to health care for people who live in very, very difficult conditions. A motorcycle really is the only viable vehicle in these places. My role with Two Wheels for Life and Riders for Health is to help people ride further and more safely.”
And he adds: “Celebrity ambassadors do a lot of good but I’d rather be getting my hands dirty doing this. We’ll have to work out a name for my role but whatever it is I can’t wait!”
Lesotho is known as ‘The Kingdom in the Sky’ due to its mountain top location and is spectacularly beautiful but the riding conditions can be treacherous. When it rains the soil becomes as slick as diesel while, as the trails are predominantly used by pedestrians and cattle, they’re ungraded, unpredictable and often with head-spinning drops ready to punish any mistake.
Every time a rider has to turn back it can mean a delayed diagnosis, non-treatment of deadly or contagious diseases, no inoculations for children and no antenatal care for expectant mothers.
The couriers use bikes to travel between clinics and health centres to get diagnoses and treatments more quickly, covering 100-150 miles per day. The work Dougie and the Riders for Health team does to improve their skills therefore literally saves lives.
And it’s not just about rider training, either. Riders for Health operate 167 motorcycles in Lesotho ridden by health professionals and couriers employed by the local Ministry of Health and trained by the charity.
In 2019/20, Riders for Health has spent just over £80,000 supplying six new Suzuki DR200s plus training and clothing, digital training, handsets and phone covers and workshop refurbishment – and there’s already a request for four further bikes and training for 10 new mechanics this year.
Lesotho, meanwhile, is just one of eight African nations where Riders for Health operate. They also work with Liberia, The Gambia, Nigeria, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Originally written by Ben Clarke on Motorcycle News.