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4 Incredible Indians Who Went Out Of Their Way To Save Road Accident Victims

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India has the dubious ‘honour’ of being number one in the world in terms of road accidents; a number which translates to something like 400 deaths a day, 17 deaths an hour! In many of these cases, victims don’t receive help from bystanders in the ‘golden hour’, or the first hour after the accident, where emergency medical care is crucial. In a national survey conducted by NGO SaveLIFE Foundation, it was found that 88% of people don’t help due to the  fear of legal hassles and police harassment.

While other countries (such as France and Germany) have laws sometimes requiring people to help a person injured in a road accident (also known as ‘duty to rescue’), India doesn’t have any kind of law of that kind. However, the Supreme Court, in January 2016, issued guidelines to protect good samaritans or those who help road accident victims, from any legal troubles. And what we need today is more awareness about these guidelines and examples of good samaritans reaching out to thousands.

Here are the stories of four incredible Indians who went out of their way to save lives:

Deepika Bhargava, Pune:

On September 21, I was returning from lunch when I saw a crowd of around 50 people gathered on the road. I immediately stopped my car to check what had happened. Two men were helping a girl out from under a stationary bus. The girl was not fully conscious and was badly injured. While the two men were helping her, others were just standing there and looking, with some people even trying to get on the bus to get a better view. Seeing the gravity of the situation, I immediately dialled 102 and called an ambulance. I also called a nearby clinic to check if they could send a doctor but they turned down my request citing shortage of staff.

Taking her out of the bus took about half an hour and the ambulance still hadn’t arrived. That is when I decided to take her to the hospital in my car. Thankfully, the doctors at the hospital were really nice and immediately started her treatment without asking any questions. I found her phone and left after informing her parents about the incident. Later, we heard that the ambulance had ended up arriving 40 minutes after we called them.

A road accident can happen with anyone and it is our duty to help out. It’s like a chain reaction. If you help someone, in future, they will also save other lives.

Naveen Mittal, trained volunteer at SaveLIFE Foundation and Assistant Professor at SRCC:

In July 2015,  I was on my way to a wedding reception with my family when I saw a huge crowd gathered on the road. I immediately stopped to check and found a severely injured young man lying in a pool of blood. Realising that there was no time to waste, I picked him up and rushed him to the nearest hospital. The injured, a 26-year-old CA student, was saved despite severe head injuries because he had been taken to the hospital quickly.

In another incident, a 21-year-old girl was severely injured after a car hit her while she was crossing the road. Since she was bleeding profusely, I applied a tourniquet to her wound and then drove her in my car to a nearby hospitalMy training has not only given  me skills in helping the injured, but also the confidence to step forward and help.

Shrijith Ravindran, CEO of Malaka Spice restaurant, Pune:

On January 21, 2016, I was at Holkar bridge, Khadki, in Pune, around 7:15 p.m., when I saw a crowd gathered around an elderly man. He had been hit by a bike, whose driver had then sped away. Instead of waiting for an ambulance, I quickly took him in my car to the nearby Cantonment Hospital at Khadki. The hospital authorities only provided an ambulance and directed me to Sassoon General Hospital. They gave him no treatment except for wiping the blood off of his face.

The victim was so disoriented that he fell from the stretcher, so I decided to accompany him to Sassoon Hospital. When we reached the hospital, I was told by the staff to search for a stretcher. I had to struggle to get the victim on it. At the casualty ward too, the staff only cleaned up the profusely bleeding ears and directed me to complete admission formalities that included getting the police’s signature on it, since it was a medico-legal case. But the policeman was unavailable for 15 minutes at his seat.

I was getting desperate as the doctors hadn’t begun the treatment Once again, there was no help in placing the patient on the stretcher. With great difficulty, I wheeled him towards the CT scan section. The doctor only walked along with us. In fact, after the CT scan, I was rudely told by the staff there to clean the blood and urine of the patient. It was only after the patient started coughing profusely and frothing at the mouth that the doctor asked me to rush him back to the casualty ward. That is when they incubated him. After losing considerable time, the doctors admitted him to the trauma ICU.

I was trying to save a life and that too within the golden hour. My only appeal to citizens when they are out, is to ensure they carry a valid identification card that lists numbers of relatives and friends so that it is easier to contact their families, in case of any emergency.

Rajeev Narayan, Delhi:

Whenever I spot an accident victim, I try to help, no matter what the condition of the person is. I first dial 100 for the police, and then 102 for an ambulance.

Once, I came across a biker who had been hit by a truck in Sarojini Nagar, Delhi. I took him to a private hospital because it was closer to the accident site. But the hospital insisted that I take the person to AIIMS. This wasted almost 30 minutes of precious time when treatment could have started. Finally, I fought with the hospital administration and got first aid for the man.

People are not aware of how an accident victim should be treated. Some people start giving water to the person, which is absolutely wrong; the person might choke and die on the spot. As for police, sometimes they are cooperative while in many cases they start harassing me and ask questions like – Why are you here? How did this accident happen? Did you hit this person? After all these years, I have learnt to deal with policemen.

If there’s one thing to learn from these stories, it is that India needs a deeper understanding of how exactly to help accident victims, especially in the crucial first hour after the accident.

If you want to know more about how you can help road accident victims, go here to join the discussion and make road safety in India a priority.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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