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Expanding ambulance services for all across India
India-based Ziqitza Health Care Limited (ZHL) joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to expand its ambulance services across India, Africa and Latin America, and increase the number of patients served from 2 million in 2012 to 7 million by 2015.
ZHL's vision is focused on saving human lives by creating a strong network of fully equipped ambulances across the developing world to act as a robust emergency response mechanism.
Despite progress in the healthcare sector, India has yet to establish a comprehensive emergency medical services (EMS) system that can be accessed by all, including the poor. An accessible and affordable ambulance service is critical for the sector.
To meet this urgent need, ZHL partners with various state governments under the brand Dial 108 in Emergency. This could be either free for emergency victims or on a user fee basis, depending on the state. This model is currently operational in Bihar, Trivandrum, Punjab and Odisha.
ZHL also operates a private ambulance service with different prices, where the more wealthy pay higher costs, the less wealthy pay lesser costs and the very poor emergency victims are treated free of cost. This cross-subsidizing model called Dial 1298 for Ambulance is operational in the city of Mumbai, Punjab, Bihar and Kerala. Both Dial 108 in emergency and Dial 1298 for Ambulance also employs staff in an emergency call response center and well-trained ambulance crews.
In addition, ZHL operates an Ambulance Outsourcing model where ZHL provides a fully equipped ambulance with a trained driver and a paramedic to hospitals who outsource this aspect of their business to concentrate on their core specialties of treating patients.
The Indian health care sector was expected to reach more than US$100 billion by 2015, according to Fitch Ratings Agency. While the government has launched a programme for improving health care delivery across rural India, many of the consumers are in low-income areas, where there is a clear lack of available, affordable and acceptable emergency products and services. ZHL also provides much needed training and capacity building for paramedics employed in emergency service.
ZHL believes that the private sector has an important role to play, and through the innovative use of cross-subsidizing models, the private sector, the public sector and the poor can benefit.