Delivering vital medication by bicycle

Delivering vital medication by bicycle

“I used to get calls: ‘Peter, help me out, Peter help me out’. So to the nearby people, I used to walk and pick their medicine so that I can bring it to them”.

Peter works as a peer counsellor in Uganda, determined to help those affected by the lockdown. At first, calls came from the young people he helped as part of his peer network, but soon they were coming from everywhere. 

I spent the whole day walking

“To the distant people, I used not to help, until one day when I decided to go on foot to the distant places to see if I can manage. I spent almost the whole day walking. I had to sleep at a friend's because it was so far and I was so tired.” 

After he wrote about it on Facebook, a friend offered the bicycle he uses today. Six weeks later, he delivers to over fifty patients. Peter is now one of a small group of young volunteers from the Uganda Network of Young People living with HIV/AIDS (UNYPA) who are delivering vital medication by bicycle. But it’s not cheap: Peter rent his at a cost of 5000 Ugandan shillings (1.20 Euros) per day. He used his own savings to pay the bike rental. With deliveries up to seven days a week, the cost has been adding up. 

Uganda’s lockdown has been extended twice already, and despite the country’s relatively low numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases, there’s no indication of when restrictions might end. 

COVID Response Fund

With money from the Aidsfonds COVID Response Fund, UNYPA has been able buy 25 bicycles, so their young volunteers can continue their vital work. “The emergency fund is supporting us to ensure people living with HIV, especially young people, have access to life-saving medication”, says Nicholas Niwagaba, the director of UNYPA. “It means we can continue to support our community, even through this critical time.” 

Peter is determined to continue his deliveries, despite the long distances. Above all, he hopes Ugandans will no longer have to travel so far for their medication in future. “I hope for a zero HIV generation, where we have a cure, where HIV is like any normal disease, whereby all people who need services can access the services nearby – where we don’t have stigma.” 

Along with his paid job working with refugees, Peter volunteers at Mildmay Hospital, counselling teenagers with HIV. He is a former winner of the Y+ beauty pageant, organised by Aidsfonds partner organisation UNYPA, the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV and AIDS, and he works as a peer counsellor for them too. uses cookies to offer the best website experience possible and to anonymously analyze website behaviour. More information.