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Serving Covid-19 patients with makeshift ambulances -- Javed and Aziz Khan show the way

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Bhopal's Javed Khan who has converted his autorickshaw into an ambulance to ferry Covid-19 patients to hospital free of cost (Pic: Courtesy/Twitter@ANI)

Javed Khan and Aziz Khan, both hail from Madhya Pradesh, are men with limited means but with unlimited passion for selfless service. Both are outstanding examples of how one renders help to people stricken by the second surge of Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

The 34-year-old Javed is an auto driver in Bhopal who has converted his vehicle into an ambulance. While, Aziz Khan, 39, is an Mechanical Engineer of Dhar who has fabricated a bike ambulance that can ferry Coronavirus patients from remote and inaccessible areas to hospitals.

From Auto To Ambulance

In an article in Hindustan Times about his inspiration to convert his autorickshaw into an ambulance,  Javed Khan said: “During the lockdown, I was sitting at home and reading news that people are facing trouble in reaching hospitals. I thought of helping such people. But I thought just to help them in reaching the hospital is not enough, so I thought of converting my auto into a mini ambulance. The oxygen is one of the most important things for Covid-19 infected patients so I fit an oxygen cylinder in my auto.”

Disclosing that his wife not only supported his idea but also helped him, Javed shared that she parted with her jewellery to raise money for this venture. “My wife Kishwar Khan helped me financially by giving her gold pendant and earrings. I sold it for ₹10,000. I posted my numbers on social media so that people can contact me any time.” In fact, in a span of two weeks itself, he helped 12 people in Bhopal.

Fortunately, the most important part of the ambulance, namely the oxygen cylinder and oximeter were given by two donors.

Javed Khan was taught by a doctor how to use the cylinder and oximeter to safely supply the lifesaving gas to patients while he drives them to a hospital.

As he offers the services free, he has been dipping into his savings.

“I have saved some money to repay the loan of my auto but now I am using this money to bear my household expenses,” revealed Javed.

Javed Khan in his autorickshaw ambulance (Pic: Courtesy Twitter/@ANI)

Even though it is a struggle to refill the cylinder, Javed does not mind it at all. “It takes four to five hours and someday more than eight hours to get the cylinders refilled at a centre in Govindpura but it motivates me to help more people.”

People who have used his ambulance appreciate his effort.

Sunil Dug, a resident of Awadhpuri, told Hindustan Times, “I was discharged from the hospital two days ago, I needed an ambulance to reach home but I didn’t get any vehicle till late at night. I saw Javed’s number on a social media platform. I contacted him, he was 12 kilometres away from the hospital but he came and took me to my home which was 13 kilometres from the hospital. When I asked for money, he refused to take any but I donated some money for his welfare service.”

Also read: Autorickshaw ambulances drafted to take Covid-19 patients to hospitals

In fact Javed Khan acknowledges the help he has received from many.

"Many people have come forward to help me with donations and have requested me to continue driving around until the pandemic is over. It is thanks to the help of so many people, I am able to do this. I couldn't have done this on my own,” he said.

Turning Scrap Into Ambulance

Aziz Khan, a fabricator from Dhar, was deeply concerned when he read in the media, What’s App and Facebook about problems people faced in reaching hospital from remote places due to lack of ambulances.

“I have been working as a fabricator for the past so many years. I read some news that people are facing difficulty in reaching hospitals due to a kutcha road or narrow lane so I thought of developing a bike ambulance. I constructed an attachment with a bed, an oxygen cylinder and a metallic cover. The structure is attached to my bike and this is how I am able to take the patients safely to the hospital,” he said.

Aziz Khan of Dhar who fabricated the bike ambulance

Like Javed Khan, Aziz too does not charge for the bike ambulance. On the contrary, even though he used a lot of material from his fabrication unit, he says he must have spent Rs.30,000.

It was Aziz’s empathy for the relatives of Covid-19 affected patients that motivated him to devise this ambulance. In a video interview, he said, “The patient is lying unaware of what is happening around. It is the attendants and the relatives who are helpless as no ambulance is available to take the patient. In remote areas ambulances don’t go as they operate only in the urban areas. I felt that there is a need to develop something indigenous which can be used easily in the countryside and that can be attached to any vehicle for ferry a patient safety with oxygen to the nearest hospital.”

Being an engineer and an experienced fabricator he looked around his factory for material to make this carrier that could be towed by a vehicle. “Having got the concept I moved to the stage of making it. Due to the lockdown, the first thing I did was look around my factory to see what was available. I found some motorcycle tyres and rims, and some fabrication stuff. I put it all together and in about four days this carrier was ready. I managed to get an oxygen cylinder too for it,” shared Aziz in the video.

The ambulance was put to use almost immediately. “My worker whose elder brother suddenly became sick, used this bike ambulance to ferry his brother forty kilometres for admitting him in a hospital. My hard work was immediately paid for as it saved a person’s life.”

What makes the bike ambulance a feasible option is that it can be used by everyone. ”In the case of this bike ambulance, the relatives of the Covid-19 affected person can drive the bike and take the patient to the hospital. They don’t have to depend on the ambulance or an attendant,” said Aziz.

The bike ambulance (PIc: Courtesy zeenews.india.com)

The bike ambulance is readily available for everyone. “I have parked the ambulance outside my factory and whoever needs it can take it as it is free. All they need to show is the doctor’s prescription and take the ambulance, use it and return it,” informed Aziz.

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