Champions of Change – Roger’s Story
In the Mbale region of Uganda, there is high incidence of death in pregnant women and their unborn child. Often this is because there are no methods in place to be able to respond to a medical emergency quickly, in particular in Mbale, where the majority of the terrain makes it difficult for ambulances to gain access to patients’ homes.
To help, Roger Neuberg from the Rotary Club of Oadby launched his Uganda eRanger Project, with the aim of providing a fleet of 20 eRanger motorbike ambulances.
Over two years, Roger drummed up support for his project and raised £143,000 – enough to buy and ship 32 eRangers to Uganda.
Between June 2014 and December 2015, the fleet of eRangers carried out more than 13,000 emergency call-outs. Just over 50% were for emergencies arising in labour and the remainder chiefly for emergencies arising in under fives.
Roger explained: “When I visited Mbale I found that each eRanger was extraordinarily valued by the community it served. The communities develop a sense of ownership of the bike. A number of communities have set up associations for savings from their own resources to help in the maintenance of the service.
“I came across eRanger drivers who were so committed to the service that they would supplement the costs of running the bikes out of their own very low salaries. Over and over again I spoke to patients who were convinced that they would have died had it not been for the eRanger service.”
He continued, “I found the eRanger that had been donated by my own club at the local District Hospital. The driver told me that the mother had delivered the first twin in her village hut but the second twin could not be delivered.
“On the only road to the hospital from her village, the eRanger driver found the road completely blocked by the monthly market. They moved back every stall and massive sacks of vegetables to allow the eRanger through. The second twin was delivered successfully by emergency caesarean section.
“Instead of the fear that pregnancy was likely to cause death, access to an eRanger has given women an enormous sense of confidence and the real hope and expectation of a future for themselves and their babies.”
Roger Neuberg, from the Rotary Club of Oadby, was a Champion of Change in 2016 – read all the winners here.