How do you provide a city like Mumbai and its 22 million residents an efficient Ambulance service? The Acumen Fund’s Sasha Dicheter, talks about their latest investment, “Dial 1298” service with its 51 ambulances, each fitted with intensive care service combining world-class operational skills with a social mission.
Patients who want to go to a private hospital in a full-service ambulance – staffed with a doctor – pay 1,500 rupees (about US$35). Those who go to public hospitals pay either half price or nothing. 1298’s leadership is committed to having 15-20% of the company’s calls be serviced free or at reduced cost. This simple logic takes away the cumbersome process of identifying who can afford to pay and who cannot.
As such, anyone in Mumbai who needs ambulance service can dial 1298 and, thanks to the magic of GPS and Google Maps, one of 51 world-class ambulances arrives in about 15 minutes to provide care and transport. The service is world-class, modeled on London Ambulance Service
The British Medical Journal estimates that for every 5 minutes saved in ambulance response time, the survival rate doubles for cardiac arrests. Consider that before 1298, Mumbai had just 12 ambulances – with 9 out of 10 trips made to transport the dead.
Currently the model is being replicated in 2 other Indian cities – It’s time someone took the initiative and replicated the model in Lagos, Accra or Capetown that have a huge population density and a mix of private and public health care.
Update: The Acumen fund did a wonderful follow up story on Meridain Medical. Nairobi-based Meridian Medical Centre has been profitably operating three outpatient clinics with one-third of its clients earning only $4 a day. They will open 5 more clinics over the next 3 years in higher density, lower income areas. Meridian is part of a larger trend of companies recognizing the market potential of the BoP.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela lovingly referred to as Madiba, was on a rush visit to Nairobi on a cold July morning in 1990. It was rumored that he was gravely ill from pneumonia and was visiting one of our elite private hospitals for personal medical care .. 27 years on a prison island can take a physical toll on any human body.
We were marched off from class in pairs of 2, holding hands to wave at the great man as he passed by our school. It was traditional that foreign dignitaries in presidential motorcades be greeted by eager flag waving kids wherever they went – it rejuvenated our President and bolstered his ego.
I was given a Kenyan flag to hold and given a spot right by the roadside. As minutes turned to hours my initial excitement turned into restless anxiety and then boredom. The teachers insisted we practice waving flags so as to keep us occupied. Just as the teachers were losing hope – a policeman zoomed by on his BMW motorcycle. The kids arose in anticipation, then another motorcycle, then five more – the policemen were immaculately dressed with their shiny bikes and their white kidskin gloves. Mandela was on his way.
The presidential motorcade sped by us like lighting as we peered back eagerly trying to capture a glimpse. Then it happened. A frail old man with a feeble smile and piercing eyes raised his hand and looked out of the black Mercedes limousine. It was him. Mandela had smiled at us – for an 11 year old it was the closest I had come to history and although I didn’t realize it then something powerful had just taken place.
Mandela has come to signify the African spirit. Even at his frailest he had the presence of mind to acknowledge the kids who stood 2 hours for sight of him – Mandela cared. His steady gaze diminished all doubts that his love for life was waning and that he would return stronger.
This was my first glimpse of Nelson Mandela.
FIFA has just announced that Reinhard Fabisch, a former Dortmund soccer player but known mostly to Kenyans as national coach for Harambee Stars in 1987, 1997 and 2001-02, is dead at 57 of an undisclosed illness. His last assignment was as coach of the Benin national soccer team.
Fabisch was perhaps one of the best known foreign coaches in Africa. His passion for the life and the sport could hardly be discounted. Those who knew him say he was as mild mannered off the soccer pitch, as he was aggressive during a game – pacing from end to end and constantly barking instructions at the players.
Under his watch, Kenyan soccer reached its highest peak. He lead the Kenyan National team, the Harambee Stars through many battles that seemed unfairly matched – In 1987 the Kenyans defeated a much favored Malawian team before battling it out with the Pharoah’s in the 4th All Africa Games at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya. Although they won the game – the Stars lost the Final. Fabisch resurfaced in 1996, to draw against the Super Eagles; and again in 2002 to lead the Stars against Tanzania for a 5-1 victory.
May the man who gave life to Kenyan soccer, rest in peace.
- Early intervention by high profile negotiators and pressure from world leaders is key to resolving conflicts (incl. President Bush who played a critical role through his envoy Condoleezza Rice)
- A free media and technology are vital to a transparent democratic process
- Democracy matters in Africa
So finally there was some agreement on the road to PEACE for Kenya …
After 2 months of bitter violence and intense drama, Kenyans turned a corner — from Power-Grabbing to Power-Sharing, old-guard Mwai Kibaki and opposition aspirant Raila Odinga decided to bury the hatchet on February 28.
Interestingly enough, all credit goes to Mr. Kofi Annan who brought Kenya back from the brink of anarchy and despair. Annan, it seems understood how critical Kenya is to regional stability and the U.N mission in Africa — Kenya is a hub for peacekeepers to Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda and is a key port for most of East and Central Africa. In the past, he has come under heavy criticism for the U.N’s lethargic response to Darfur and was determined not to let this one get away. To honor the ex-UN chief and to show their gratitude Rangers at the Ol Choro Oirogua Conservancy in the Maasai Mara reserve named their new-born rhinoceros Kofi Annan .
Kenyan’s all agree that this is a fragile peace and a number of concrete steps need to take place for there to be a lasting solution – nevertheless a new constitution diluting the powers of the president is a reasonable start.
On a lighter note, there are delayed New Years celebrations all throughout the Kenyan capital as most residents felt that their new year was tarnished by the unrest and had nothing to celebrate.