The students and alumni of IIT Bombay have come up with a 24x7 ambulance service. The initiative is called Helpnow, a response to the ambulance crisis following the coronavirus outbreak, which has been particularly harsh in Maharashtra. Within a month of opening the service, they have received over 3,500 calls.
To avail themselves of the ambulance service, people have to dial 8899889952. The ambulance will reach them within three-quarters of an hour. Helpnow, which now offers the services of 45 ambulances, including private ones, and of which 15 are used to carry coronavirus patients, is the brainchild of Aditya Makkar, Shikar Agarwal and Venkatesh Amrutwar.
The ambulance has been made available for 5,000 INR for the first five kilometres, with the charge increasing according to the additional distance travelled after that. The team is working to hire more private ambulances.
“In 2017, when my father suffered a heart attack, we struggled to get an ambulance. We had to take him in our car to the hospital. This was the time we learned that Mumbai is facing scarcity of ambulances, so we decided to launch this service,” Makkar said.
The team received initial funding of 200,000 INR from the Desai Sethi Centre for Entrepreneurship at IIT Bombay. Makkar then chalked out a plan, looking for volunteers. Eventually, 24 health workers and students volunteered to join this initiative.