Having once been one of the “silent victims” with whom she now works: a woman who, as a result of unsanitary birthing conditions and practices, contracted an infection that caused her to suffer for years, Zubaida Bai used her passion and experience in the social development sector to found AYZH, a social enterprise aimed at bringing technology solutions to rural women. Now, after being chosen as a TED India Fellow in 2009, obtaining her MBA, and spending five months in the field investigating birthing hygiene and education, Zubaida has invented an improved version of the clean birth kit. Her kit is produced and distributed by local women and uses attractive packaging to help women understand how and why to use it. Zubaida is currently working to distribute the kit through the country’s system of rural clinics and hospitals. Zubaida’s experiences demonstrate her passion for empowering underserved women and her match with an Ashoka Fellow will enable her to envision a model for widespread social change.
Rebecca Onie is building a movement to break the link between poverty and poor health by mobilizing undergraduate volunteers to provide sustained public health interventions in partnership with urban medical centers, universities, and community organizations. Rebecca understands that for children and families in poverty, even the highest quality traditional medical care is not enough to improve health outcomes—a prescription for antibiotics does little for a child who goes to bed hungry. Her idea is to make health clinics the gateway to the community resources low-income families need to get healthy and stay healthy.
ProjectHEALTH’s approach to healthcare delivery considers the full universe of factors impacting health outcomes. Their current referral system operates out of Boston Medical Center (BMC) and “prescribes” both medical and non-medical treatments for patients (e.g. housing, nutrition, etc.). Zubaida Bai will help ProjectHEALTH launch a universal screening and referral system for women receiving pre-natal care at BMC.
Zubaida will collaborate with ProjectHEALTH staff to accomplish the following goals during her Young Champions placement: (1) collaborate with clinical partners to develop an electronic screening tool for families, (2) track use of the system as it goes into effect, to ensure consistent implementation, (3) work with ProjectHEALTH staff and volunteers on quality improvement projects in program operations, and (4) design systems to seamlessly connect each family with ProjectHEALTH’s team in BMC’s Birth Center upon delivery. In addition, Zubaida will serve as an advocate for families in the ob/gyn clinic for a few hours each week, helping to connect them to the resources they need.