TraumaLink

TraumaLink: Harnessing the power of communities to help people survive traffic accidents

Daudkandi, BangladeshDhaka, Bangladesh
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Traffic crashes are a leading cause of death and disability in Bangladesh and many lives could be saved if emergency trauma care were available. TraumaLink solves this problem by training local first responders and operating an emergency hotline to connect them to those injured in traffic crashes.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if people received the care they needed immediately after a traffic injury?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Our project addresses the high burden that traffic crashes pose for rural Bangladesh. While many of these injuries and deaths could be avoided with basic and timely trauma care, it is not available today. There is no public emergency hotline; private ambulances are cost-prohibitive, not equipped with medical personnel, and take hours to arrive; and kind bystanders who try to help risk causing further injuries due to improper handling.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our solution is to operate a 24/7 emergency hotline that connects the injured to rapid, on-site first aid services. They are provided by trained first responders who live nearby and are equipped with first aid supplies. Our solution will offer greater effectiveness and accessibility than current alternatives. By recruiting and training local community volunteers, we ensure that our responders can quickly arrive at the crash scenes even during heavy traffic, thus raising the effectiveness of care. Further, by leveraging volunteers, we can provide the service for free to individual victims. Our use of a call centre and volunteers also makes our model highly scaleable because the marginal costs of expansion are small.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Let's tell the story of Amer, the sole breadwinner for his family. One day, he is struck by a vehicle while crossing the road on his way to work. While his wounds are not fatal, his spinal injury requires medical attention. A crowd tries to help by picking him up by his arms and legs and putting him on a local bus to get to the hospital. Unfortunately, this improper handling severs his spinal cord and he is paralysed. What TraumaLink provides is a widely publicised hotline that Amer and the bystanders could have called, activating our local first responders who would have provided him with targeted trauma care before being transported to the hospital safely. With TraumaLink, Amer would recover fully and return to work in a matter of weeks.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In a survey of 260 people in our pilot site, 100% of respondents said our service would be helpful and that immediate medical care was the most critical thing. Overall, it was estimated that about 300 accidents happened in our pilot area with 750 injuries every year. The need for our service is strong in the pilot site. Based upon a literature review of studies examining traumatic injuries in rural settings and implementation of rural emergency medical services, we anticipate a 10-20% reduction in both the number of deaths and paralysing injuries through our service. At national scale, over 20,000 people die and another 400,000 are injured every year due to road accidents. Thus, the national impact could be 2,000-4,000 fewer deaths and fewer victims suffering from paralysis annually. Internationally, burden is also huge with India alone having 200,000 deaths from road crashes annually.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our operations are highly scalable. With our established relationships with the government and leading NGOs in Bangladesh, future expansion will take advantage of their extensive network and the publicity from our pilot to rapidly recruit more first responders. We will also leverage experienced volunteers to serve as our future trainers, saving cost and serving as motivating stories. We will first expand from our pilot site along the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway, and we expect to cover all highways and main roads by 2020. Then we will expand to other South Asian countries with similar needs.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We minimise financial needs through partnerships with local NGOs and the use of volunteers to provide critical resources. Our long-term financial support will come from a mix of philanthropic donations, advertising fees we charge Bangladeshi businesses who want to use our platform to promote social image, as well as community-based subscription fees where we solicit fees from community leaders. Our appeal to businesses will grow as we expand.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Many Bangladeshi organisations, such as Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust and Nirapad Sarak Chai, focus on public advocacy and education. Some, such as the CRP, have focused on rehabilitation of injured victims. We have partnered with them on these fronts, while we focus on post-crash, on-site trauma care to minimise fatalities and injuries. Private ambulances are expensive and fragmented, while not equipped with medical personnel. We are the only one operating a 24/7 emergency hotline providing free-of-charge first aid services through nearby volunteers who can bypass the heavy traffic.
Team

Founding Story

It all started in January 2013, when all of our founders met together for the first time in Bangladesh. The daily sight of dangerous road traffic and descriptions of the staggering mortality and morbidity was shocking. However, as we discussed the many barriers to care and potential solutions, we had the opportunity to meet fellow Harvard alum Mridul Chowdhurry, who was also passionate about solving the issues around road traffic accidents in Bangladesh. As we brainstormed together, we came upon an idea for combining volunteer medical care from local community members, a model pioneered in Bangladesh, with an emergency hotline to connect injured victims to these resources. TraumaLink was born!

Team

Our team consists of 6 full-time and 3 part-time members. We have 2 doctors, one ex-management consultant, as well as members with diverse skill sets including volunteer management, call centre operations, and impact evaluation. For instance, our president has managed the expansion of a rural emergency medicine program in Uganda prior to TraumaLink. We have have a board of advisors helping us with local connection and other technical expertise.
About You
About You
First Name

Eric

Last Name

Dunipace

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, Dhaka

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Daudkandi

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Other.

Supplemental
Sector

Health and Hygiene, Opportunities for Women.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

Our initial recipients are people in the Daudkandi region along the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway. Traffic crashes kill and injure hundreds in this community but they have no access to emergency medical care. The community values our solution because it empowers community members to learn first aid skills and enables widespread access to trauma care. To engage these groups, we have conducted over 10 community meetings with hundreds of participants, met with local leaders, and partnered with local NGOs.

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

In the near term, we have secured the funding necessary to operate our initial 6-month pilot, which will allow us to test our model and establish credibility. However, further funds are needed to refine and expand our operation so that we can deliver a refined service for national expansion. Moreover, our future sustainability depends on our ability to solicit community subscription fees and sponsorships from businesses who would be interested in using our platform to advertise. Not only will the prize money help us refine and expand our service, but the publicity the competition generates will draw attention to the global traffic accident epidemic, increasing funding availble to us and others.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

Members of our team have experience founding a non-profit organisation in Hong Kong, Empower Life Association Limited, that connects students with physical disabilities to volunteer mentors from various industries. We have also initiated a city-wide effort to conduct organisational health assessments for non-governmental organizations in Hong Kong and develop targeted recommendations to address identified issues.

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?

yes

Will you require a visa to enter the UK?

Are you are a current Unilever employee?

Comments

Md Saimum Talukder's picture

My native village is in Daudkandi. I know that Daudkandi is an accident prone area. Your project perfectly hits that point. One suggestion from me is that, please include the shop owners beside the Highway in your volunteer team. Because, my experience says, Owners of small tea stall or grocery shops beside the highway are always the very first responders to this kind of situation. Hope to be in touch with your project

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