Sunday, October 5, 2014

Declining security for Elderly citizens

Many pan-India survey reveals that almost 30% of India’s elderly people are subject to some form of abuse or neglect by their families. Shockingly 47.3% of abuse against elders is committed by adult care givers, partners or family members.

According to INPEA survey, the problems of the elderly can be broadly categorized as economic, health, disability, and social. In Delhi, the survey revealed that the most prevalent health problems among the elderly related to mental handicap, orthopedic and ophthalmic problems. Loneliness, no source of income, and unemployment were also found to be widespread among Delhi's elderly.

The above mentioned startling figures make one think of the safety for senior citizens who at times are abandoned and live alone.

Few basic tips for senior citizens that will help them in mitigating these risks:

Do’s & Don’ts for Senior Citizens

  • Never discuss any financial matter with your servant
  • Don’t allow any friends or family of your servant to visit your house
  • Make your neighbor & society know that you are staying alone
  • Install a peep hole in your door and check the identity of the person before you let anybody inside your house
  • Never leave spare keys in open
  • Inform your society about the uninformed visitors at your home to enable them check their background
  • Have all the emergency numbers handy:
    • Police- 100
    • Ambulance (Mumbai, Kerala, Bihar, Punjab)- 1298
    • Senior Citizen Helpline- 1298
    • Your family doctor
    • Your neighbors number

Sunday, September 28, 2014

All about Ebola Virus Disease

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a rare but deadly virus often fatal to human life. EVD kills up to 90% of people who are infected. As he virus spreads through the body it weakens the immune system and the organs.

Symptoms of EVD
EVD or Ebola fever can feel like flu or other illness and symptoms show up 2 to 21 days after the infection and usually include:
  1. High fever
  2. Sore throat
  3. Lack of appetite
  4. Weakness
  5. Stomach pain
  6. Joint and muscle aches
This is followed by vomiting, impaired liver and kidney function and in some cases internal & external bleeding takes over.

How it is transmitted?
It spreads to people by contact with the skin and bodily fluids, one can’t get Ebola from air, water or food.

Few primary prevention measures have been established and no vaccine exists.
Risk of transmission is increased in the healthcare setting where the patient is treated.
1.    Wearing of protective clothing (such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles)
2.    Using infection-control measures (such as complete equipment sterilization and routine use of disinfectant)
3.    Isolating patients with Ebola from contact with unprotected persons

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chennai skips a heartbeat to save Mumbai woman

On 16th June, 2014, a green corridor was created to transport a heart from Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital to Fortis Malar Hospital in Adyar. This seamless transport helped save a precious life. Check out the entire coverage here:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Road accidents involving children on the rise

Every alternate day we come across shocking news of young children dying in road accidents. This no doubt raises umpteen number of questions regarding child safety, children suffering due to no fault of their own and what corrective measures to be taken to avoid further such casualties.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau 20 children under the age of 14 years die daily in road accidents in India. The nearly 70 deaths between January 2013 and July 2014 are of school students. In all the instances victims were travelling in their school buses which were either hit by other vehicles or rolled down from the slope.

India has only about one percent of the world's vehicles but accounts for 10 percent of the world's road accidents. These stunning figures definitely highlight how grave the issue of child safety is in India.

According to NGO Save Life Foundation’s Founder & President Mr. Piyush Tewari school buses should come as a part of special vehicle like Ambulance unlike commercial vehicles. As this implies even a truck driver can drive the school bus which reduces the probability of sensitivity towards children riding in the bus.

Currently there are no child safety laws, few measures under the same would mitigate the risk:
-          Seat belts & helmets for child
-          An adult supervisor to be designated in all the buses who would keep a check on errant drivers

-          Drivers should undergo formal training and they would need to renew their licenses every year. These drivers should also be imparted training on First Aid in case of any medical emergency.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

ZHL featured by The Financial Times

The Financial Times popularly known as FT, features ZHL in their Sustainable Healthcare section, the article covers how social healthcare businesses require patience & deep pockets.

This article features many other social enterprises & NGOs along with ZHL who are working to better the current healthcare services in India.

Ms. Sweta Mangal, Co-Founder of ZHL, shares her experiences on how key stakeholders (including drivers) of this venture require consistent motivation to follow through with the vision that has grown into ZHL.

To read more click here

Friday, July 11, 2014

Ziqitza Healthcare Limited through eyes our investor Acumen Fund CEO Jacqueline Novogratz

When we first invested in ZHL, the company had 9 ambulances with a purely private business model based on a sliding scale pricing structure. Over the past 7 years, partnership with government has driven the company’s growth. Scale and sustainability are possible – and so is a commitment to ethics. At the nexus of both is the constancy of moral leadership.

Before ZHL, a state like Odisha, India’s fourth poorest, provided little in the way of emergency services.  On my recent visit to Bhubaneswar, the state’s capital, I met numerous people who shared horror stories of trying to get loved ones to hospitals using rickshaws, taxis, even bullock carts. Now, by dialing 108, any person with an emergency can expect a quick pick-up and delivery to a public hospital. What is most surprising to users is that the 108 services are actually effective. Average delivery times are less than 25 minutes, despite the fact that 80% of users live in rural, underserved areas with inadequate infrastructure. Prashant, a fish farmer who lost an uncle while trying desperately to get to hospital said that this new ambulance company was like “the gods coming to help the poor people.”

If free, quality services are a surprise, so too is the absence of corruption: bribes are not tolerated.  To ensure this, a quality team is tasked with calling users regularly to inquire: 1) whether the driver has asked them to pay; 2) whether they’ve paid something, even voluntarily; and 3) how they would rate the quality and speed of service. The group also monitors daily calls, currently coming in at 10,000 a day. By year’s end, ZHL in Odisha alone will transport more than a million people to hospitals, proving the potential of a public-private venture to serve the very poor.

The company’s leaders focus vigilantly on re-enforcing its values-based culture.  Sumit Basu, Regional Head for East India, tells the story of the Emergency Medical Technician, Pratap Kumar Sethi, who noticed a wallet containing 21,000 rupees (about $350) beside a roadside accident’s unconscious victim. The driver insisted on bringing the wallet to the hospital and holding it until the man regained consciousness, not trusting doctors to be honest. ZHL ensured the local newspaper covered this act of integrity. The driver earned respect. The idea that good service is possible was reinforced. Everyone gained in dignity. If scaled and buttressed by transparency and ethics, a single company can impact an industry.

This is the idea: patient capital is vital for early-stage investing when the company must confront significant challenges to disrupt an industry. At this stage, few other than philanthropy-based patient capital will take the financial risk the company needs for experimentation. As new standards and practices are established over time, the company serves as a model for others. If all goes well, it moves to profitability and sustainability, so that the company can raise more traditional capital. The poor thus have greater access to freedom, to dignity. How this translates into lives impacted is something we are studying along with the Grameen Foundation, so stay tuned

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A death trap called Indian Roads

It’s a fact that, as humans, stories move us more than statistics. What experiences an individual goes through in his lifetime make it easier to relate than analysing how many individuals go through the same experience. 

That’s the reason despite the various statistics released by officials  on road accidents  (over 2 lakh road accident deaths in 2012, 15 road accidents happen in India every hour), it has only now come into public awareness and concern due to the sudden demise of Mr. Gopinath Munde, BJP leader, in a road accident.

Though hypothetical scenarios are being played out on what the outcome would have been had Mr. Munde been wearing a seat-belt or if the driver would have followed basic traffic rules, the fact remains that thousands of such cases go unnoticed every week. It’s a possibility that a road accident has happened somewhere in India as you are reading this.

It doesn’t mean that we downplay what Mr. Gopinath Munde went through. Every loss of life is irreplaceable and so is Mr. Munde’s. But the fact remains that if, as a society, it’s the stories that make us move, we should learn our lessons from this tragic outcome and appeal for a stringent law in spirit and action so that our roads become safer for us and our future generations.

Lets strive together as a society to bring an end to this mayhem that has engrained itself into our daily commute.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What the world needs?

For many a years, mankind has worked towards making human lives better. Different skills were learnt, different practises incorporated, different lifestyles introduced just towards one objective. Improving Human Lives.

This has led to more professionalism, more skilled attributes and a never ending race against time to achieve this single goal.

But at the end of it, turns out all it needs to take improving Human Lives is a little goodness.
Ever experienced any of these?
1.       The goodness to tend a healing touch to the injured
2.       The goodness to assist senior citizens while crossing the road
3.       The goodness to let pedestrians pass
4.       The goodness in understanding that the city roads are shared resources and are to be used responsibly
5.       The goodness in understanding each life is precious and no matter what it cannot be recreated once lost

In this cut-throat competitive world, where the feeling of ‘being all by ourselves’ has become a standard norm, a little ingredient called ‘Goodness’ can bring about a huge change in making the world a better place.
Remember it’s our legacy and it’s our duty to pass it on to the future generations.

And this can only be done by practising it.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Is technology contributing more to road accidents than road safety?

Across India, new roads built with modern technology, proper signage and safety features have failed to bring down accident rates.

But according to analysts of human behaviour, this is not surprising at all. “The smoother, wider and better a road is, the more accidents there are likely to be -- and this is because of natural human behaviour,” said Biju Dominic, chief executive officer of Final Mile, a consultancy firm that uses behavioural science to solve problems for clients.

Dominic and Final Mile’s co-founder Ram Prasad explained the link between good roads and higher accident rates through the concept of risk compensation: the safer the situation, the greater the tendency of people to take risks.

The theory of risk compensation also holds true for the kind of vehicles being used -- high-end cars with sophisticated features are more likely to have accidents than simpler cars, says Prasad. If a car has an anti-lock braking system, the driver knows he can bring the car to a halt in a microsecond, so his mind automatically compensates and he is likely to apply the brakes later than usual.

So, going by this theory, we are at more risk today than previous years and the risks will be far greater in future as the human mind offsets the security offered by technology. Hence, the only solution that can provide safer roads & security to life is the Human Mind itself and the constraints practised on it while driving, caution being the most important element

The significance of 108

Ever wondered why the number 108 was chosen to save people’s lives? It’s a number which goes way back in history and can be found in mathematics, astronomy, in scriptures and beyond. It’s a number upon which some of the key universe elements which form the pillars of life are based. Some consider 108 a sacred number, some say there isn’t enough proof to determine the significance of 108. Below are a few references to the existence of 108 in history and today.


Sanskrit alphabet has 54 letters, each has masculine and feminine form called shiva and shakti respectively. 54 times 2 = 108.


It is said that if one can be so calm in meditation to have only 108 breaths a day that enlightenment will come.


Hinduism:  The names of Hindu Deities = 108.

Early Hinduism: The Last part of Vedas called Upanishads are traditionally 108 Upanishads.

Islam: 108 is used to refer to God.

Jain: there are 108 virtues

Buddhaism/Japan: A bell is chimed 108 times to celebrate the New Year.


The distance between the Earth and Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.

The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.

The distance between the Earth and Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.


There are 12 constellation and 9 arc segments. 9 times 12 equals 108.


River Ganga: The sacred river in India, River Ganga spans a longitude of 12 degrees and a latitude of 9 degrees. 12 times 9 = 108.

Martial Arts:

According to Chinese and Indian Martial Arts, Marma Adi and Ayurveda, there are 108 pressure points in a human body.

So, what could be a better number for emergency medical care than 108, a number deeply engrained in us, to make a difference to human existence and give life a fighting chance once again.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

8 Tips to beat the heat this summer

Summers are here and let’s face it, it can be quite punishing in many parts of the country because of the soaring mercury levels. Follow the tips given below to beat the heat this summer:

  • Incidences of sunstroke among people living in the plains of northern India are very common. The thumb rule to avoiding sunstroke is to avoid exposure to the sun when it is at its zenith.
  •  If you are traveling make sure you drink lots of fluids. Wearing light colored cotton clothes can help you beat the heat and cool baths can keep your body temperature in control.
  • Eating watermelon, papaya, mango and banana can cool your system. The abundance of mangoes in summers compensates for any discomfort experienced due to the heat. This king of fruits is the ideal fruit for the summer- but don’t overdo it.
  •  Diseases in summer are usually water-borne so, it makes sense to use boiled water during this time. You can also use mineral water, but make sure that that you consume water from well-known brands and that tamper proof bottling techniques are used by the brand you consume.
  • As the body loses essential minerals due to sweating these need to be replaced without fail or else the body may experience heat exhaustion and cramps. The ubiquitous ‘nimbu pani’ is the ideal summer drink. Again the water you use to make juices needs to be boiled and cooled.
  • Do not use commercially made ice as this is a potential carrier of diseases like jaundice and cholera.
  • Food that is not refrigerated in time can cause dysentery, food poisoning and other enteric-related diseases. Food rich in fiber should also be taken in plenty.
  • Finally, if you are using air-coolers make sure the water is changed often to avoid breeding of larvae as summer is also the time when mosquitoes and other vectors breed rampantly and spread vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue. You can also use insect repellents and cover your body adequately to prevent mosquito bites. Covering your body will also give you the protection against sun burns. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Respect the Fellow Commuters. Respect the Road

India is right there at the top when it comes to the number of fatalities (1.15 million fatalities in a decade) and injuries in road accidents and has maintained its position for years now despite an exponential surge in the development and enhancement of road and transport infrastructure in the country. Though there are laws in place for crimes such as drunken driving & talking on the phone while driving, a majority of these fatalities also arise from the lack of combination of civic sense, and much needed traffic sense (or road sense) among ourselves.

Today what is missing on the road is no courtesy or empathy for the fellow commuters, drivers, pedestrians or vehicles plying on the road, nor do we have any willingness to go by the rule books. A majority of the fatalities occur due to this insensitive nature for which rules only come into force after an event has occurred, but by then it’s too late as lives would have changes forever by then.

Thus, it is imperative to use the roads as a collective resource. Give other vehicles their own space and not making things difficult for fellow commuters. Encroaching into driving space is not only fatal but also a mark of disrespect for fellow drivers who might be equally in a hurry as you are but still go by the rules.
There is also another responsibility we have towards our fellow commuters. In case of any accident, we can make a big difference by placing a single call to 108 & ensure their safety.

Remember, compassion & respect is the building block of any society. Without these, co-existence is impossible be it on  the road or in our homes

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What’s happening at ZHL?

We started 2014 on a promising note, bringing in new friends, facing new challenges & striving for new goals. In the past few months, we have begun another chapter in ZHL's history. Take a look at the highlights so far. Click here

Sunday, March 2, 2014

When NOT to call an Ambulance

Emergency health care is no doubt critical for patients but there is another group who are equally affected by it, the emergency medical crew.

EMTs face tremendously stressful situations on a daily basis. And it is worse than any of us can imagine because EMTs are routinely exposed to five unique stressors: high levels of uncertainty, high interpersonal tension, and frequent exposure to human tragedy, extreme fear and a heightened physical response to the sound of an emergency alarm, which basically means that after working so long around emergencies, your body goes into overdrive whenever you hear an alarm.

In such a situation, it’s essential that we realize that ambulance services are to be used only when the situation warrants so as to avoid any hassle to the crew or the patients requiring actual help.

Here are some situations when NOT to use an Ambulance:

1.       Feeling lonely: There are help lines which cater to those who need someone to talk. So keep the ambulance lines free to cater those who really need emergency medical intervention.

2.       Immediate attention from doctors: Rest assured even if you arrive in an ambulance you won’t be given priority unless & until yours is a critical case, therefore do not use ambulances to avoid the long queues at the hospitals.

3.       Over-estimating the situation: Everybody loves their dear ones but that doesn’t necessarily mean slipping on a banana peel and spraining a muscle warrants an ambulance even if it requires medical attention

4.       Helpline services: Ambulance helplines are only for emergency situations. The lines should never be used for help in getting directions, residential complaints or general ranting.

Remember, it is a facility for our well-being. Let’s use it wisely.

Phailin: A cyclone that brought humanity together

Phailin not only united people of Odisha but also served as a remembrance of the kind of work done by our 108 Odisha Heroez who work very hard every day to make a difference on the field.
This video is a fitting tribute to Odisha 108 HEROEZ who made us proud by placing their mission to save lives above fear.

Check out the video here

Have you laughed today?

The age old idiom that laughter is the best medicine still holds true. Researchers have found that it helps you feel better and puts that spring back in your step.
They have also found that a good sense of humor, positive attitude, and the support of friends and family play a role in keeping one healthy

Laughter Therapy: What Happens When We Laugh?

We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles in our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues.
And laughter appears to burn calories, too. Maciej Buchowski, a researcher from Vanderbilt University, conducted a small study in which he measured the amount of calories expended in laughing. It turned out that 10-15 minutes of laughter burned 50 calories.

Effects of laughter on the body

Immune response: Some studies have shown that the ability to use humor may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells, as well.
Blood sugar levels. One study of 19 people with diabetes looked at the effects of laughter on blood sugar levels. After eating, the group attended a tedious lecture. On the next day, the group ate the same meal and then watched a comedy. After the comedy, the group had lower blood sugar levels than they did after the lecture.

Relaxation and sleep:  

The focus on the benefits of laughter really began with Norman Cousin's memoir, Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins, who was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful spine condition, found that a diet of comedies, like Marx Brothers films and episodes of Candid Camera, helped him feel better. He said that ten minutes of laughter allowed him two hours of pain-free sleep.

So no matter how much stress, remember to your laughter pills & laugh your way to good health :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Serving Kerala’s tribal health needs

Following the launch of the first Mobile Medical Clinic (MMC) in Urukkunu tribal colony in Kollam on December 4, 2013, ZHL’s MMC programme in Kerala has been conducting medical camps throughout the tribal areas of Kollam.

Launched by Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited and Scheduled Tribe Development Department, our programme has conducted twenty-four medical camps in the district and served 764 patients till date.

The recent camp in Kulathupuzha, Kollam, on January 4, 2014, was able to serve 59 patients through a mobile clinic that provides medical check-ups, ECG, investigative and post-natal services, etc. The medical camp team was led by Dr. Rejeesh, auxiliary nurse-midwife Suma, lab tech Nazia, pilot Santhosh and coordinator Venugopal.

What do you get with 50 paise today?

Remember as a child every single paise had value; when your favourite candy used to be light on the wallet but the best taste in the world; when you had to choose between 50 paise candies and life and death depended on making the right choice?

Now, after so many years, that favourite candy might cost a lot more than 50 paise but those 50 paise haven’t lost their power to change lives.

Every time you witness an accident, all it takes is 50 paise to call for an ambulance, thanks to the extreme competition in the Indian mobile market.

Yet, we choose not to call an ambulance.

Over 12,00,000 people died in road accidents in 2012 alone.
Yet, we choose not to call an ambulance

A victim who can be reached within an hour of an accident can be saved.
Yet. we choose not to call an ambulance.

Even today, the 50 paise can help you make a life changing decision. Question is--are you ready for it?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How bad was your day today?

Today, time is a precious commodity & we are out to make the most if it. We try to do our best in a limited amount of time within the day. Some times we succeed, many times we don’t.
If the day goes well, we are too stressed thinking about the other challenges that come up with the success.
But if things don’t go our way, the impending sense of doom takes over, along with the frustration & self doubt that comes with it.
Either way, the best time we get to think about this is our commute time. Yes, that time when we feel everyone else exists simply to block our way on the road as we makes our plans or cope with your failure and try to find a way ahead.
And we also learn to ignore all the horns blasting around us & concentrate on our destination. In that noise, the wails of life also get lost. In the midst of our self-centred thoughts. we rarely hear the desperate siren of an ambulance trying to find a way through.
In our defence, nobody knows our troubles or what we have been through that day. Not giving way to an ambulance--we may say it was a momentary lapse of judgement because of all the noise going on in our own head. But always remember: those lying in the ambulance would much rather be you after your worst day at work than be transported to hospital.
Time truly is a precious commodity. You will have another shot at work; the one in the ambulance might not.

Give way to ambulances! Always!