The situation became even more challenging when the Ugandan government, as part of the lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, determined that public and private transport systems, including boda-bodas, wouldn’t be allowed to carry passengers. This restriction led to the temporary suspension of boda-bodas, who often support community referrals, especially in rough terrains (hard-to-reach areas). Consequently, mothers and their newborns faced difficulties in reaching health facilities, most of which are over a five-kilometer distance from their homes, placing their lives at risk of preventable deaths and health complications.
To continue providing uninterrupted Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health services to communities, AVSI Foundation secured movement clearance from the COVID-19 District Task Forces for boda-bodas offering referral services in the West Nile District, Northern Uganda. The boda-boda riders received training following the Ministry of Health guidelines to prevent and control COVID-19. They also receive alcohol-based hand sanitizers and personal protective equipment, including face masks.