Riders for Health

Specimen Transport

Riders set up and run a vibrant Specimen Transport project using 74 motorcycles, 60 couriers and 5 technicians and other support staff and managers across the 15 counties of Liberia. This project supports Liberia rapid diagnostic and improving surveillance system as part of the health system strengthening strategy plan for the Health Ministry. Riders for Health Liberia’s sample transport (ST) system ensures that specimens collected from patients are regularly and timely picked-up and transported in a professional, consistent, safe, and controlled manner to laboratories. As the EVD zeros down in Liberia, Riders Liberia sample transport system not only focuses on EVD but on all other specimens such as Lassa fever, Malaria, Measles, Yellow fever, TB and HIV/AIDS and has also extended its services to transport samples from a network of 302 pickup sites; beyond the initial EVD collection points

Riders’ ST system is in a Cooperative Agreement with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ensures that specimens collected from patients at health centres or clinics are transported on a regular-scheduled basis, in a professional, consistent, safe, and controlled manner to laboratories. This is done using motorcycles maintained by Riders to “zero breakdown” standards. Samples are transported in specially designed containers, carried by trained sample couriers to laboratories. After the laboratory analysis has been conducted, the results are then promptly dispatched by the Laboratories to the relevant clinic through email or by mobile phone, allowing for expedited follow-up with the individual patients. The service enables and supports faster diagnosis, prompt medical care interventions and monitoring of patients.


Utilises a dedicated specimen transport and a dedicated courier so as:
  • to ensure standards for collection and transportation can be monitored and followed
  • to ensure the system is reliable
  • to ensure quick turn around times which helps in specimen viability for temperature
  • sensitive specimen for results to be reliable


Periodic maintenance of motorcycles for specimen transport system by using dedicated mechanics following pre-planned preventive maintenance modules
  • eliminates breakdowns and hence less downtime and more motorcycle capacity which makes scheduling and quick response possible
  • eliminates accidents caused by motorcycle mechanical failures


Management of the specimen transport system
  • This improves road safety and also increases the lifespan of the motorcycle.
  • Ensures standards for handling samples are always upheld and enhanced


Utilises a dedicated specimen transport and a dedicated courier so as:
  • includes vehicle uptime, vehicle utilization and other logistics data
  • health centre interviews, financial data
  • courier activity/sample volumes transported data sheets/ fulcrum app information
  • Riders transports specimens from 302 main pickup sites in 90% of all the districts covering all 15 Counties of Liberia and covering all major routes.
  • There are no laboratories which test Ebola specimen in the South East e.g. Maryland meaning all samples are transported all the way up to the North to LIBR in Margibi County or Phebe Hospital in Bong County or Tappita in Nimba county or ELWA in Monrovia (The specimen Lab of reference depends on the specimen type and Lab capacity to carry out the requested test). Riders designed a relay system to manage the system.
  • Over 99% of all samples collected by Riders are transported by motorcycle
  • The Specimen System Carries Ebola samples and all other disease specimen to include, Cholera, HIV, Lassa Fever, Measles etc.- of late Measles has a higher percentage
  • At the peak of the 90 days of EVD heightened surveillance in Liberia which began 03 September 2015, Riders transported 5,053 samples in the month of September.
  • A total of 50,974 samples have been transported from the start of the specimen transport system in April 2015 to September 2017 and 3,262,266km (were covered over the same period.
  • No major accidents were incurred (both on riding and on sample handling) over 2 years of riding in over the 3 million kilometres covered indicating good rider training and maintenance.