Health care workers in 2 Botswana cities recently were given 200 specially designed and constructed Kona bicycles to assist them in caring for patients with HIV and AIDS. The initiative is part of the BikeTown Africa program supported by Bicycling magazine, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation's Secure the Future program, and the Kona Bicycle Co.
The project, the first international expansion of Bicycling's 4-year-old BikeTown USA program, is designed to assist health care workers with the delivery of home health aids and services in Botswana's rural and hard-to-reach areas. The bicycles were distributed equally to the Botswana Christian AIDS Intervention Program and to the Bobonong Home Based Care Society.
Currently, Botswana has the second-highest rate of HIV infection (38%) in the world. Many home health care specialists must walk miles between visits. The goal of BikeTown Africa is to enable caregivers to significantly increase the frequency of their home care visits. The bicycles are specially tailored to suit local conditions, while also requiring minimal maintenance. Spare parts and the training of local individuals on the repair and service of the bicycles will guarantee that they are fully utilized.