Catholic Medical Mission Board Celebrates 110 Years of Service by Equipping Community Health Workers with Life-Saving Tools

New York, New York, Jun 03, 2022 — On World Bicycle Day, Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) launches a campaign to equip community health workers in remote, under-resourced settings with bicycles, mobile phones and life-saving backpacks to expand their reach and save more lives.

Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) celebrates 110 years of service by launching a campaign to outfit CMMB-supported community health workers serving in poor, remote communities around the world with bicycles, mobile phones, and life-saving backpacks. This pledge follows news from the 2nd Global COVID-19 Summit, where a commitment was made to deliver support to 200,000 community health workers in African countries. CMMB is proud to follow suit and supply these frontline health workers with the resources they need to save lives.

With over half the world’s population lacking access to quality health services, community health workers are essential to improving the reach of the local health system. These individuals are part of the communities they serve and are supported and trained  to connect underserved households with basic medical care, health education, and referrals to health facilities. They often visit households by foot, walking sometimes up to 12 miles per day in exceedingly challenging conditions.

“In one of our program areas, the region is characterized by vast distances of travel between households through harsh terrain,” said Jesse Kihuha, program manager of CMMB’s Children and Mothers Partnerships program (CHAMPS). “These have always been a major impediment to optimized household visitation by community health workers and ultimately impede access to essential health services. In these hard-to-reach areas, the community health workers are the first responders, providing the very much needed information, basic treatment in line with local health guidelines, and appropriate referral to the health facilities when the problem is more complicated than they can handle.”

When outfitted with bicycles, community health workers in Kenya can reach 88% more patients with life-saving health support. In the communities served by CMMB, bicycles, combined with other tools, helped improve maternal and newborn health by increasing the proportion of mothers delivering in health facilities from 29.7% to 87.3% and the proportion of expecting mothers receiving at least four antenatal care visits by over half.

“With the bike, I am able to bring health services such as malaria test kits and  medicines door to door, and in severe cases, encourage parents to bring the child to the nearest health facility,” said Patrick John Onduu, a CMMB-supported community health worker in Kenya.

The Buffalo Bicycles that CMMB will provide are purchased through World Bicycle Relief – a partner nonprofit that created the bikes specially engineered to handle the rugged terrain over which community health workers must travel, in addition to being easily built, maintained, and repaired in Africa. Mary Beth Powers, CEO of CMMB shared, “More efficient travel means community health workers can better bridge the gap between underserved communities and their right to healthcare.”

“Mobilizing community health workers in partnership with CMMB has helped us achieve our shared goal of improving rural access to healthcare,” said World Bicycle Relief CEO Dave Neiswander. “We are committed to expanding our partnership to make bicycle mobility available to many more community health workers who so urgently need support to serve their communities.”

The provision of life-saving backpacks will provide community health workers with basic medicines and supplies used to treat common illnesses including diarrhea, malaria, and childhood pneumonia—the leading disease that kills children under 5. Additional supplies include thermometers, MUAC bans for measuring children’s nutritional status, bandages, rubber gloves and more. When combined with a mobile phone and bicycle, community health workers will be able to more efficiently reach homes, document patient progress, make facility referrals, and coordinate emergency transportation.

For 110 years, CMMB has responded to some of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. The international, faith-based NGO works to strengthen health systems in remote communities and operates locally in Haiti, Peru, Zambia, Kenya, and South Sudan while supporting other healthcare clinics with needed medicines in dozens of other countries from El Salvador to Ukraine. To mark over a century of serving, CMMB has selected “A Call to Mission” as its theme for this milestone year.

Contributions make it possible for CMMB to support community health workers with the tools they need to save more lives. Donations to help CMMB equip community health workers with Buffalo Bicycles, mobile phones, and life-saving backpacks are welcome at

About Catholic Medical Mission Board: 

CMMB provides long-term medical and development aid to communities affected by poverty and unequal access to healthcare. Focusing on women’s and children’s health, we deliver sustainable health services in Peru, Haiti, Kenya, South Sudan, and Zambia. For over a century, we have worked to strengthen and support communities through healthcare programs and initiatives, the placement of volunteers, and the distribution of medicines and medical supplies. CMMB has delivered over 3,000 shipments to 88 countries over the last ten years, with a total value of more than $4 billion worth of medical aid.

About World Bicycle Relief

World Bicycle Relief partners with people in rural communities around the globe to realize their goals by expanding opportunities to access education, markets, health facilities, and vital services with the tool they need to thrive. Equipped with a purpose-designed Buffalo Bicycle from World Bicycle Relief, students, health workers, and entrepreneurs in low-income regions create opportunities for themselves, their families, and entire communities.