BY DOLA ADESANYA
Zubaida Bai is one of the rare individuals associated with the field of designing and engineering low-cost health products. With a Masters in Engineering (product development and design) from Dalarna University, Sweden and an MBA (social and sustainable enterprises) from Colorado State University, USA, Zubaida is working at the intersection of engineering, global health and business.
Growing up in India, Zubaida saw the number of neonatal deaths that occurred due to complications resulting from infections during pregnancy and/or childbirth. It became apparent that these women struggled with financial hardship and lacked access to a clean birth environment. At childbirth, Zubaida experienced unsanitary birthing conditions herself and contracted an infection that caused years of suffering.
Following these happenings, Zubaida sought for ways to increase the income and health of women in rural India. She believed that these women needed to be given the tools to rise out of poverty, as this in return would improve the standard of living in rural communities. After working in the social development sector for years specifically in innovations, health and commercialisation, Zubaida founded AYZH (pronounced “eyes”)– a social enterprise aimed at bringing technology solutions to rural women. AYZH designs, develops and delivers lifesaving products that serve the unique health needs of women in resource-poor settings.
In 2010, AYZH launched its first product, Janma – a $2 clean birth kit which helps prevent infection at the time of birth and reduce maternal and infant mortality. This birth kit not only saves the lives of the mother and baby, but also helps ensure a healthy and happy start to life. The Kit contains simple tools recommended by the World Health Organization to provide sanitation and sterility at the time of childbirth and has been chosen as one of the 61 products globally designed to improve life by INDEX awards.
What is most innovative about Zubaida’s idea is the involvement of local women in the production and distribution of her product, which adds another level of impact beyond just the number of women reached and using the kits. Historically, such innovations have been challenged by supply chain inefficiencies and a lack of thorough market testing. By doing this, Zubaida has continued to improve the lives of poor women thorough technology and entrepreneurship.
In 2009, Zubadai Bai – founder and CEO of AYZH, was chosen as a TED India Fellow, she was selected Ashoka Maternal Health fellow (2010-2011), and most recently, selected as an Echoing Green fellow (2012).
Today, AYZH has significantly improved the lives of million of women with its proven ability to efficiently identify customers needs, design solutions, and deliver benefits to a large market. Additional products under development include: a newborn kit, a post partum haemorrhage kit, and a groundbreaking sanitation and hygiene solution for women.
Dola Adesanya || is an astute lawyer with a good business acumen. She loves everything motivational.