If you live in a society where you can dial one number and ask for an ambulance, you are very lucky. Imagine a society without the ambulance. Your parent has a stroke, your kid has an extremely high fever, or a car accident happens right in front of you. What would you do? In many places in the world, you don’t have a number to call.
The state of Punjab, located in northwest India, was such a place until two weeks ago.
But not anymore.
Ziqitza Health Care Ltd. (better known as “1298” in the Acumen Community) started operating the “108” medical emergency service under the PPP (Public Private Partnership) with the Punjab State Government on April 3, 2011. Over 3,000 people attended in the launch ceremony.
From Day 1, our ambulances began operating continuously, 24 hours a day, saving lives from accidents, pregnancy complications, and heart attack, just to name a few. Nearly 500 lives have been saved already. In addition, the Control and Dispatch Center (CDC) in Amritsar receives thousands of inquiry calls every day, indicating a strong interest from the public to learn more.
The service is free to the public. Anyone in the state can dial 108 toll free and request an ambulance. 90 ambulances were launched on April 3rd, and total 240 ambulances will be operational by the end of 2011 to cover every corner of Punjab.
This is not a small operation. Great teamwork is essential. As a member of the launch team, I am confident in our service. Throughout the training and preparation, I have witnessed great commitment and coordination among 500 colleagues including ambulance drivers, emergency medical technicians (EMT), and control center staff.
Ziqitza Health Care Ltd. (1298) now operates over 460 ambulances across five states in India.
Chikako Fujita is an Acumen Fund Global Fellow in the class of 2011 working with Ziqitza Health Care Ltd. in India.