For our communities, access to medical services is an ongoing challenge. The nearest hospitals are 40-50km away, requiring community members to pay for taxi rides, wait uncertain hours for an ambulance, or navigate the long and dangerous distance by foot (across the Xhora River, forests, and mountainous roads). If someone requires urgent medical treatment, the most reliable transport is hiring a vehicle, which can cost up to R800— an unaffordable expense for most community members.
A part of our second wave COVID response, the BI has trained and hired local taxi drivers to transport community members who require medical care. Referral pathways to feeder hospitals have been strengthened, and we are now able to effectively refer, transport, and followup with admitted community members. To date, there has been limited need for the taxi ambulances, however, having a reliable and affordable transport option is vital in improving access to care.