Mobile app helps trained volunteers respond to accidents in Bangladesh
While diseases like malaria and Ebola get a lot of attention, accidents are a greater problem globally. According to the World Health Organization, 5.8 million people die each year as a result of injury – 32% more than from malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS combined.
Poorer countries suffer a disproportionately high number of fatal injuries, because they often lack emergency response systems. In Bangladesh, where there is no emergency number and ambulances are privately operated, 21,000 people are killed on the roads each year, costing the country 1.6% of its GDP. For every two people who die from road accidents in the US, 160 people die in Bangladesh.
Jennifer Farrell first visited Bangladesh as a medical student, training 1,500 people to become first aid volunteers. The problem was that volunteers didn’t know when or where they were needed. That’s when Farrell, a US citizen, returned on a Fulbright scholarship and co-founded CriticaLink with Bangladeshi Rahat Hossain.
CriticaLink is an app used by over 3,000 first response volunteers trained by Farrell and her team. When an accident happens, a bystander can take a picture and upload it to the app. The picture, along with any description and geo-location, gets shared with volunteers in the area, who can then choose to attend the accident and provide help.
The app is integrated with Foursquare, which means that once a volunteer arrives on the scene, they check in, ensuring that volunteers’ time is used efficiently, while rewarding volunteers with badges of honour the more they get involved.
Farrell says volunteers have treated more than 600 patients in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka in the last year, and she is now working with local telecom companies and the government to set up an emergency number like 911 and expand the service nationally. To donate, visit http://criticalink.org
Image courtesy of Sam Greenhalgh
Last updated: 03rd of October, 2016