Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in India, till date, remains largely fragmented and unorganized. India has approximately 24000 ambulances operational with nearly 9157 catering to emergency services.
There has been significant support from the government, state & central, in improving the state of emergency medical services in the country. As per the latest data on EMS, the segment has been growing at 4.8% CAGR.
Beginning with 10 ambulances in 2005, Ziqitza Healthcare Limited (ZHL) today has over 3,300 ambulances operating across 16 states in India having served over 2 million people. They are also the first independent private ambulance service provider in the Emirate of Dubai, UAE with plans to expand to other countries soon.
Manish Joshi from NewsBarons connects with Manish Sacheti, Founding member and CFO at Ziqitza Healthcare Limited, who informs ‘To improve the quality of EMS in India, we firstly need to consider it as the sector under the healthcare segment and ensure we avail the provisions, policies tax rebates etc.’.
NB: Tell us about ZHL?
Manish: ZHL was started with a mission to save life. Founded by Shaffi Mather, Manish Sacheti, Ravi Krishna, Naresh Jain and Sweta Mangal, the company originated because of the personal experiences of its founding members who realised the gap in emergency services in India.
ZHL recognised the need of organised and professional ambulance providers in the country and created the best emergency response service in India that can save countless lives with timely medical attention.
Currently, with revenue of Rs. 500 crore over the span of 14 years, ZHL has emerged as Asia’s largest emergency medical service company with over 2 million people served and counting.
In the past, the company has received funding from Acumen Fund. IDFC Bank and True North and is also the first EMS company to introduce GPS enabled ambulance services.
• Established in 2005 with just a fleet of 10 ambulances
NB: Tell us about Emergency Medical Services in India?
Manish: Apart from standardization of services, which is biggest roadblock in EMS in India, there are various disparities in the standard of training, vehicular capabilities, equipment, infrastructure, and qualifications of paramedics in the ambulances provided by EMS services in India.
To improve the quality of EMS in India, we firstly need to consider it as the sector under the healthcare segment and ensure we avail the provisions, policies tax rebates etc. Standardization of the policies, by the central government will help in developing this service as per the global standards and offer better reach and penetration.
As this is passion driven career path, we need to create a highly motivated/driven and skilled workforce. And also understand that it could be perceived as one of the important trigger in job creation in India, where unemployment quotient among youth in particularly is high. This also, indicates that there is dire need of institutes and training centres in India. Hiring trained paramedics, specialists, nurses and EMTs can not only contribute in advancing the healthcare services but also help in economic development.
ZHL has been extremely active on this front, we have trained 4,11,345 personnel in this field till date through our First Responder Program. Our training faculty is drawn from highly experienced medical professionals who are certified trainers of American Heart Association.
The table is self-explanatory on how EMS needs evolve rapidly:
|Country||Total Ambulances||Population||Per Capita||Ratio|
NB: The perception towards Social Entrepreneurship was to be seen as social or charity work and not as a profitable business model. How do you think this perception has changed? How do social enterprises create an impact?
Manish: We need to create a lot of awareness on this front and give a complete and clear picture on how this model works. According to me the foremost driving factor for anyone to be a social entrepreneur is PASSION – to take the road less taken. Particularly in India, diversity and highly sensitive political environment makes it difficult for it to be the first choice as a career path. Even if Social Enterprises operate like any other business enterprises, they aim to create an impact by solving a community problem. Hence, the government reforms, policies and rules and regulations have a major role to play.
Having said that, the scenario is changing gradually, there has been a visible shift in the perception toward Social entrepreneurship. It is no more perceived as a Not For Profit entity. Sectors like Education, Agriculture, and Healthcare & Women Empowerment have had great impact on this, and are running on successful business models.
With regards to financial assistance, the scene is gradually improving with entities like Accumen Fund, Aavishkar India Micro Venture Fund and Gray Matters Capital coming to fore in support of such enterprises and giving them a boost.
As the objective or nature of business of any social enterprise is to bring a change or a shift and delves into segments affecting the social environment of the region they are operating in, the impact is subtle and hidden. The effort is to bring about a change or improve the situation for the betterment of the society and in-turn help providing better living conditions and value.
NB: Tell us about your expansion plans?
Manish: In terms of revenue, in the coming 5 years, ZHL is projected to grow at an average rate of 25% year on year. We are also aiming on increasing our fleet size to 8,000 vehicles across all our business models and to expand our outsourcing services to private players in corporate, sports, events, oil mining and construction industries.
We are also looking to expand our operations nationally while catering to the sensitivities of each region. Globally, we are currently servicing in UAE but are planning on increasing our services UAE to Africa in the near future.
Our aim is to also increase our presence in ambulance rescue operation through 108, Health Help lines and MMU’ through public private partnership in other states in India. Also focus on our Ambulance Outsourcing model and double our reach in the category and retain market leadership in the segment.
NB: As a successful social entrepreneur what do you want to say to the budding generation of entrepreneurs?
Manish: Today, we can see many driven and passionate young entrepreneurs coming forward and changing the game of business. My first and foremost advice to these budding talents is to finish their education while keeping that passion alive.
Education will help them in understanding the theories and nuances of business world which will later guide them in working on ground. Being a social entrepreneur is doing business with purpose and they should always strive for the betterment of society. Any form of learning or knowledge never goes waste, the key lesson to remember is that there are no failures, only stepping stones that help you reach your ultimate goal and achieve greater heights.