Charity award for helping HIV fight in Africa

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A programme improving diagnosis of HIV in rural communities in southern Africa has been recognised at an awards ceremony celebrating excellence in the charity sector.

Riders for Health, a social enterprise started in Norton but currently based at Pitsford, won the Big Impact Award at the Third Sector Excellence Awards at a ceremony in London for its work in the tiny African country of Lesotho.

The country has the third highest rate of HIV infection in the world, and its unique geography means people living in mountain communities can be isolated from healthcare.

Riders for Health, which used to have an office in Daventry, has mobilised a team of couriers with reliable motorcycles to help transport medical samples and results to and from rural clinics, and their team of technicians maintain them so they never break down.

Barry Coleman, co-founder and executive director of Riders for Health, said: “The first step to treating any disease is diagnosing it, and that means reaching the patient to test them, and making sure their sample reaches the lab.

“This relies on reliable transport, which is maintained properly so it never breaks.

“The work of our sample couriers in Lesotho is having a big impact on health care there, but reliable transport should underpin the work of all health workers, in all countries, in Africa.”