Washington, D.C.— July 31, 2014—Today the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and Riders for Health announced a new partnership that will expedite the delivery of laboratory samples and HIV-related test results to health facilities in two districts of the Northern and Central Zones of Malawi. The partnership between EGPAF and Riders for Health will establish a dependable and coordinated system to transport laboratory samples and address a critical bottleneck in health services for the more than 1.3 million people living in Malawi's Dedza and Mzimba districts.
Currently, Malawi lacks a systematized national laboratory sample transportation system. Each district has different processes in place to transport test samples and HIV diagnostic results to and from health facilities. This can result in misplaced or unusable samples that require patients to return to clinics for further testing.
"Our partnership with Riders for Health will help alleviate the anxiety that families endure while waiting for test results," said Nicole Buono, country director of EGPAF-Malawi. "Something as simple as improving the way we transport laboratory samples will ultimately improve the quality of HIV and other health services throughout Malawi. This new collaboration exemplifies the culture of partnership we have created at EGPAF, which is essential to our success and effectiveness, and is crucial for building local sustainability."
Riders for Health has more than 20 years of experience managing and maintaining vehicles used in the delivery of health care in rural areas. It works in seven countries across Africa to transform access to health care for 14 million people. In Malawi, Riders for Health has used this expertise to employ and train a team of motorcycle couriers who will transport laboratory samples that require processing to district hospitals or referral laboratories. This new partnership will see the introduction of eight new couriers in two districts.
"Reliable transport is the foundation of all health care delivery, and we are delighted that this partnership is allowing us to enable reliable testing to reach more people in Malawi," said Riders for Health country director in Malawi, Mphatso Kachule. "Through the commitment of our partners – the Ministry of Health and EGPAF, along with the Howard University Technical Assistance Project (HUTAP) and the Swedish Postcode Lottery – we are getting closer to a world where health care reaches everyone, everywhere."
EGPAF has been working in Malawi since 2001 to provide access to lifesaving HIV testing, treatment, and prevention services, including testing more than 600,000 pregnant women for HIV and providing more than 826,000 women with prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services. The new partnership with Riders for Health will enable EGPAF to provide more women with lifesaving care and treatment while also increasing local capacity to build lasting health systems that will create an AIDS-free generation.
The partnership between Riders for Health and EGPAF is made possible thanks to support from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Malawi MOH.
About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF):
EGPAF is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/ AIDS, and has reached 20 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. It currently supports more than 7,000 health facilities and works in 15 countries to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute global advocacy activities that bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.pedaids.org.
About Riders for Health
Riders is an award-winning not-for-profit non-governmental organization that specializes in the management of vehicles for health care and other public services in conditions in which there is no widespread network of vehicle-maintenance facilities. Riders have programmes in The Gambia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia and Malawi. They manage over 1,400 vehicles and transform access to health care for 14 million people. For more information visit http://www.riders.org
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