“Addressing the triple threat of rurality, poverty and disability.”

Sixty-five million people cannot walk without assistance, and eighty percent of those people live in developing and under-resourced countries (UN Dev. Programme).

In under-resourced regions first and last mile access to health care is negatively impacted by lack of adequate local transportation and transfer modalities. Wheelchairs, even when available, have limited use due to environmental obstacles encountered in informal settlements and rural areas e.g. uneven terrain, lack of tarred roads, narrow single-track pathways limited space between houses, rocks, rivers and other obstacles.

Those who experience the most limited-mobility and who need transport to reach basic and emergency health care services are moved on relative’s backs, on donkeys, in blankets or in wheelbarrows where the average distance from a home to a vehicle-accessible path is often more than 2-3 km.

In addition to the above problem, there is the question of portability – carrying of those to reach public transport routes. And when they do reach these spaces, they encounter reluctance and rejection from minibus taxi drivers who do not understand
problems of disability and do not want to spend their pressurised time enabling access to their vehicles.

The SSE approach and model enables a holistic, interconnected solution that joins the dots between all three of the problems related to the context.

The organisation has prototyped, designed and tested at its ISO-certified factory, an innovative series of non-motorised devices that can manage the most difficult of terrains; a porter system accessible to all; and, has negotiated acceptance by the
largest national minibus taxi service in the country. The project design as a whole allows for the creative combination of these elements at a systemic level, rather than seeing each element in isolation. This is a truly unique global ‘first/last mile’ innovation that provides a solution for all people needing urgent, safe and dignified access to healthcare and other services.

Watch it in action here.


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