Over 1 million mothers die annually from unsanitary childbirth conditions. AYZH, an organization founded by Zubaida Bai, designs, develops and delivers lifesaving products that serve the unique health needs of women in resource-poor settings. AYZH launched its first core product, JANMA, a 100 INR clean birth kit, to help hospitals and non-profit organizations prevent infection at time of birth and reduce maternal and infant mortality. The kit contains simple tools recommended by the WHO to provide sanitation and sterility at the time of childbirth. JANMA has been chosen as one of the 61 products globally designed to improve life by INDEX Awards.
Having sold about 15,000 JANMA kits – 10,000 in India and 5,000 in other developing countries in Africa & Latin America, Zubaida and the AYZH team have been bootstrapping success for over three years selling products to large market with minimal marketing efforts at a profit. Now, after completing a gestation period of three years today AYZH is delivering results and has gained acceptance for its forward thinking by organizations like TED, Ashoka Changemakers, and Echoing Green.
ZUBAIDA BAI, FOUNDER AND CEO
Zubaida Bai, Masters in Engineering and an MBA in social and sustainable enterprises, is one of those rare individuals who is working at the intersection of engineering, global health and business. She has been selected as a TED India fellow (2009), Ashoka Maternal Health fellow (2010-2011), and most recently an Echoing Green fellow (2012).
Growing up in India, Zubaida saw her mother, and friends who became mothers at a young age, struggle with financial hardships and poor health. After marriage, Zubaida experienced unsanitary birthing conditions herself and contracted an infection that caused years of suffering. Zubaida founded AYZH as a way to increase the income and health of women in rural India by enabling them to be the producers of tools like sterile birth kits, designed to help women thrive.
AYZH – LIFE SAVING, LIFE CHANGING
AYZH’s mission and promise is to design, develop, and deliver simple, vital, beautiful, and affordable products made “for women by women” that improve health and increase income. AYZH operates an innovative B2B model, selling products to an already existing, well-established customer base of health-based businesses (for-profit and non-profit), capable of providing AYZH significant and scalable access to its target beneficiaries.
According to AYZH, “There is untapped opportunity in helping these institutions find solutions, as they continually struggle to meet the health needs of women in developing countries.”
AYZH’s has two key customer segments that distribute AYZH products to the millions of underprivileged women they serve: (1) medical institutions (hospital pharmacies, health care centers, and slum clinics), which resell AYZH products to women at no more than a 100% markup, and (2) non-profit aid organizations (those working to improve the health and wellbeing of women and families in developing countries), which supply AYZH products to women at zero cost.
It has been a long journey for Zubaida Bai. Very often Zubaida will meet with investors and other influential individuals who are unaware of the situation faced by women in India and many other countries. Sanitary and sterile conditions are ”a given” for people in the west and it is often hard for them to comprehend the real dangers faced by majority of women in developing countries.
Other hurdles include competition. Substandard products exist, which are similar in concept to the AYZH clean birth kit (JANMA), however, these models have been traditionally philanthropic and unsustainable. AYZH’s philosophy echoes the words of Prof. Anil Gupta: “The poor are not poor in mind”. They are willing to pay for quality products if those products can solve the challenges they face and make their life easier and better.
AYZH aims to be the leading global provider of life-saving and life-changing health technologies for underprivileged women worldwide. Building off the success of JANMA, AYZH will expand its product line to meet new needs of existing customers, with a host of other “kit style” products that support new born health, postpartum haemorrhage, and menstrual hygiene. Two products have been prototyped and under pilot testing while two products are under Research and Development.
AYZH has concrete plans in place for its current goal of reaching over 1000 clinics’ and hospitals in India by 2013. Long term goals for AYZH apart from continuing to scale in India include growth of sales and scaling operations in Africa.
AYZH is uniquely situated to significantly improve the lives of million of women with its proven ability to efficiently identify customers needs, design solutions, and deliver benefits to a large market. Ultimately, with improved health, women and their families will have more time, money, and opportunity to rise out of poverty.