Alioune was a four years old who was very ill and could hardly eat. During her monthly visit to his village, Ramata, a Terre des hommes animator, grew worried: Alioune was presenting malnutrition signs. She decided to send the boy and his mother to the nearest health centre. Such a trip would have been impossible given Alioune's condition, but fortunately, Tdh had provided horse-cart ambulances.
Immediately upon Alioune's arrival, the nurse realised that Alioune's condition was worse than expected: he was suffering from acute malnutrition and needed immediate care which could not be provided at the health centre. The boy and his mother used once again the horse-cart ambulance to reach the hospital 50 kilometres away.
Alioune stayed there for a week, with his mother by his side. When he returned home, Ramata came to visit him regularly and provided his mother with hygiene and nutrition advice.
One month later, Ramata could hardly recognise Alioune: a vigourous little boy who was telling everyone his incredible trip with the horse-cart ambulance. Terre des Hommes introduced horse-cart ambulances few years ago in order to ease its little patients' trip to health facilities. Podor being one of Senegal poorest region, families can’t afford means of transportation to health facilities, often far from their villages. Often children have to walk 7 to 15 kilometres to reach the nearest health centre. Given their bad nutritional status, this effort can be impossible or life threatening.
Horse-cart ambulances are preferred to other means since they are cheap to buy and maintain, are culturally well adapted and allow transportation everywhere even during the rainy season. The project bought 30 horse-cart ambulances so far. In 2008, 10 beneficiaries were able to reach the nearest hospital thanks to the horse-cart ambulances.