Last year, during his visit to Israel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Eli Beer, the founder of United Hatzalah of Israel, the fastest free medical service in the world. Inspired by Beer’s extraordinary network of volunteer paramedics, who save a life in seconds, the PM expressed his aim to create a similar community-based emergency medical service in India, where healthcare in remote areas is still a major concern.
No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank
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Every year, millions of people succumb to death in cases of medical emergencies, primarily due to the slow response rate of ambulances. On average, ambulance services in the most developed countries like the USA or European nations have clocked the time range of response between eight to ten minutes. But medical experts all over the world agree unanimously that the first three minutes after an accident, heart attack or a cerebral stroke comprise the most crucial time to save a life.
Larger in size than standard four-wheelers, a fully-equipped ambulance needs to bypass traffic, narrow roads and other roadside hindrances before reaching a patient in distress. This delay, even if by a few minutes, contributes to the death of millions every year.
To combat this problem, Eli Beer, the founder of United Hatzalah of Israel, from Israel came up with a unique solution. He replaced the ambulance with the “ambucycle” – a motorcycle equipped with an emergency medication kit – and registered the help of thousands of volunteers. His non-profit organisation has saved countless lives so far by offering immediate life-saving medical service free of charge.
United Hatzalah of Israel trains volunteers into paramedics
As stated in their website, United Hatzalah of Israel is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
As a teenager, founder Eli Beer had experienced the aftermath of a bus bombing in his area, when he realised the drawbacks of the existing emergency response service in the country. In 1992, he started his one-of-a-kind mission to save more lives. Instead of restricting medical service exclusively within medical experts, Eli broadened the horizon of medical service to rope in volunteers from all walks of life. He trained everyone for months who became adept paramedics and were then provided with iconic “ambucycles” and medical supplies.
How the United Hatzalah of Israel’s ambucycles work
In over twenty-five years, the number of volunteers in the United Hatzalah of Israel has reached five thousand. They work tirelessly in sync with an extensive network, registering a record response time of 3 minutes all over the country, and an astounding 90 seconds in metropolitan areas.
Each emergency call is picked up within three seconds and immediately the closest volunteer is contacted by the control room, who then rushes to the spot and provides the necessary help till an ambulance arrives to take the patient to the hospital.
Recounting how the organisation saved his life, an accident victim has shared how a group of volunteers turned up instantly upon receiving a call from a passerby. The expertise of the volunteers helped to identify the nature of his injuries and direct him to the best hospital without delay. The team also informed and supported his wife until he was out of danger. Not only this, but some of his lifesavers also visited him later to wish a faster recovery.
Putting humanity first
United Hatzalah of Israel is now officially the fastest and cheapest medical service in the world. Today their outreach is worldwide, with centres in USA, UK, France and Canada.
This is one of the most impressive things I've seen in a while. It's worth your time and your friends' time. The people at United Hatzalah of Israel are doing incredible work. All for free. All to save lives. Here is how they did it. Thank you Eli Beer and the team of volunteers for reaching out to Nas Daily and letting me film your operations. All around impressive.INSTAGRAM: @NasDailyGROUP: Nas Daily Global
Nas Daily ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಬುಧವಾರ, ನವೆಂಬರ್ 7, 2018
Eli Beer, who is a Jew recalls that when his own father suffered a cardiac attack, the first responder was a Muslim person. Thus, another important aspect of his organisation, as subtly evident from their name, is inclusivity. The organisation constitutes volunteers from all age, gender, religion, race and profession – who prioritise saving lives above everything. Without wasting one second to think about the race, caste or religion of the patient, the volunteers suspend their personal activities to save humanity.
With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.
After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.
Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
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Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.
Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.
“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.
Direct Monetary and Material Transfer
Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.
Information till 10th April 2020:
Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
Reached 17,700 families
Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.
In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.
This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.