MasterwebNews 18/11/15 - Ford Motor Company Fund and Riders for Health Join Forces to Improve Health Care in Nigeria

[ Masterweb Reports ] - Ford Motor Company Fund is expanding into Nigeria for the first time through a new collaboration with Riders for Health that will work towards strengthening access to health care for people across the country.


Riders for Health (Riders) is a social enterprise and UK-registered charity that works to overcome one of the biggest barriers to well-functioning health systems in Africa - the lack of reliable, well maintained transport. Through its work, Riders is helping to reach over 21.5 million people across Africa with proper health care.


Support from Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, will help Riders improve the delivery and reliability of critical health services and medical supplies in Nigeria through a US $75,000 grant. Ford's support will also go toward training mechanics to service the wide range of motorcycles, four-wheeled vehicles and trucks used to deliver medical professionals and supplies in rural areas.


"Our mission is to improve lives in the communities where Ford does business," says Mike Schmidt, Director, Education and Global Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. "The collaboration between Ford Motor Company Fund and Riders for Health will go a long way to ensuring more reliable and efficient delivery and provision of crucial medical supplies and services in Nigeria."


Riders works with the Nigerian Ministry of Health and other health-related partners to manage their health care vehicles, maintaining a total fleet of 370 Ford and other vehicles. These are used by health workers to conduct outreach care to the most rural communities, as well as in the delivery of medical supplies such as anti-retroviral drugs from central locations to regional health centres.


Mechanics in Nigeria will learn maintenance skills to extend the amount of time vehicles are in service. Riders for Health also provide training to health care workers on how to safely drive motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles.


Ford Fund's work in Nigeria forms an integral part of its global 'Operation Better World' initiative that supports grassroots efforts to drive sustainable community innovation.  This effort to help build healthier and more sustainable communities supports the company's growth in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).


A wide range of projects are currently underway, including the Ford College Community Challenge (C3) project that runs in conjunction with Enactus, enterprise and entrepreneur development ventures, as well as broader education and community betterment initiatives.


Kayode Ajayi, the Riders for Health Country Director in Nigeria spoke about the new partnership with Ford: "We are delighted to be working with the Ford Motor Company Fund to help expand our programme in Nigeria. As the most populous country in Africa, it is a real opportunity for both organisations to showcase the impact of our vehicle management services and highlight just how essential well managed transport is for reaching remote communities with health care."


Riders currently manage a fleet of 77 Ford vehicles across six countries - the Gambia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi and Zambia. Next year, additional projects will be launched in Nigeria, specifically focusing on maternal health care.


*Photo Caption - A Ford Motor Company Fund and Riders for Health Nigeria outreach service workshop photo.

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