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May 12, 2011
By Joe Vajgrt
In rural Southern India, three million women live in poverty and lack access to a clean birth environment. Each year in India, 78,000 women die during pregnancy or childbirth and about one million neonatal deaths occur due to complications resulting from infection.
To combat this problem, the social venture AYZH distributes clean birth kits called JANMA that cost just $2 each and can dramatically reduce fatal childbirth infection. These kits are sourced and assembled in India by rural women and are composed of quality, low-cost components.
In April, alumna Zubaida Bai, founder and CEO of AYZH (pronounced ‘eyes’), accepted an award on behalf of her company at the 8th Annual World Health Care Congress and WHCC Affordable Health Innovations Global Initiative Exhibit in Washington, D.C.
The company distributes JANMA through an established network of local pharmacies, clinics, non-governmental organizations, and local women’s self-help groups. By setting up supply chains for local manufacturing, costs are kept low and economic opportunities are created for women in the communities they serve. Most importantly, the JANMA provide mothers a safe, clean, and hygienic delivery whether she delivers at home, at a primary health care center, or in a government hospital.
AYZH conducts extensive market research to assess consumer demand and then tests technologies on their affordability, appropriateness, and aesthetics to meet that demand. In addition to the JANMA birth kits, AYZH also is working to provide household water filters (called Sheba Filters) that provide high-quality drinking water at an affordable cost.
“We use a tiered approach to first address women’s basic needs. The idea is to get women and their families healthy so they have the time and strength to work. We then provide them with income generating tools to help increase their livelihood. With a healthier family and more lucrative opportunities, the women can attain a level of self-sufficiency that translates into a more vibrant society,” said Bai.
AYZH's management is an international team passionate about making the lives of poor women better through technology and entrepreneurship. In addition to Bai, the management team at AYZH consists of alumni Habib Anwar and Kellen McMartin. All three founders of the company earned a Master's degree in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise from CSU’s College of Business.
CSU’s Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA Program equips students to become global social entrepreneurs, improving the lives of people while building profitable ventures. The program admits 25 students each year, about half of whom come from abroad.
For more information about AYZH or to sponsor a JANMA clean birth kit, visit www.ayzh.com.
To learn more about the GSSE MBA Program, visit www.csugsse.org.