India is making its mark felt in Frugal Innovation arena with many out-of-the-box ideas emerging from resource crunch faced by Indian society. Majority of the Indian frugal innovations are termed as jugaad in vernacular languages, and some of them can get a facelift in research laboratories, and few be classified as an only short-term solution to address the problem at hand with immediacy. Instances of the world’s cheapest passenger car, Tata Nano; or Vortex’s solar powered Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) called as Gramateller (Village Teller) can be quoted as successful innovations from India that happened due to resource constraints. Even Indian Spacecraft industry is proving its prowess with economically viable space craft launches in recent past proving a point of providing cheapest goods without compromising on quality.
Here is an interesting story of a Juggad/Frugal innovated two-wheeler ambulance that has transformed the way patients and pregnant women of Naxalite influenced Bastar region of Chhattisgarh state commute on. Ajay Trakeroo is a youngster from Bastar who is leading this innovative ambulance drive and other youngsters from this Naxal region have followed suit. Ajay Trakeroo and his team of drivers have been applauded by the people of a place called Naryanpur in Bastar district for their skillful maneuvering of these Bike-Ambulances in ensuring safe ferrying of pregnant women on horrible potholed roads of this remote village.
Doctors from the primary medical centers in this region are already placing requests to authorities and Govt. to induce more ambulances of such stature.
Bike-Ambulance Features in Nutshell
The Bike ambulance has a cart-appended to its side known as side-car, and this ‘add-on’ cart is built indigenously using materials available in the locality. The side-car has enough cloth covering to ensure patients are protected from dust filled streets in the jungles of Bastar. The ambulance has a siren similar to any conventional ambulance. These ambulances are provided with necessary medical kits for emergency needs. Basically, it is a referral ambulance that can ferry only patient to the hospital. These Frugal innovated ambulances caught its attention amongst social welfare organizations like UNICEF, and today UNICEF is supporting this cause by funding to improvise this product.
According to Ajay Trakeroo, the ambulance costs 1.7 Lakh INR and approximate monthly fuel expenses come to 15000 INR. Most interestingly the success of these ambulances has prompted National Institute of Technology, Raipur to extend its support to improvise it in their automobile labs.
Social Angle to the Story
One might wonder that whether Doctors from Primary Health care center do not come to these villages in person. The answer is ‘NO’ as the majority of these jungle-covered villages are affected by Naxal problems, Doctors refuse to visit the villages. So, Bike-Ambulances which can ferry patients to district or taluk head quarters are in high demand. As one of the villager by name Sumana quotes—“My family was disarray and was helpless while I suffered from labor pain. Nobody owned a car in our village. Fortunately, it was the same bike-ambulance that came to our aid. They took me to a primary health center where I gave birth to a healthy girl.”
Dr. Anup Verma appreciates the efforts of these bike-ambulance drivers and urges the Govt. to fund such ambulances as they aptly suit the jungle-streets of Bastar region. The doctor also adds that the side-cart can be improvised to house oxygen cylinders and also opines that the ambulance drivers should be imparted with basic nursing skills as the cart cannot accommodate a nurse. Bastar Resident Medical Officer Dr. Jawat Naqvi, whole heartedly praise this social initiative to save the lives of mother and children. And even he urges govt to intervene and enhance the effectiveness of this social cause.
Kalam Fan Club Salutes drivers like Ajay Trakeroo, who are contributing their service to humankind in this times of people’s mindset of considering every aspect of life from the profit motive.
Video on this bike-ambulance is available below: