Over the last 19 years, Karimul Haque of Rajadanga, a village in India, has been providing ambulance service to over 20 villages in and around Doars Belt. These villages in rural India are miles from the nearest hospital—but by using his own motorcycle ambulance, Haque has brought more than 5,000 people to the hospital to get medical treatment. He also provides basic first aid and holds health camps in these remote regions. Haque has saved countless lives by offering these services—and he does it for free.
Haque was first inspired to launch his ambulance service after he was left grief-stricken by his mother’s death from a heart attack almost two decades ago. He made a promise to himself not to let any other mothers in the region suffer from a lack of access to healthcare or medical treatment.
Haque’s motorbike ambulance plan came to him when one of his colleagues collapsed on the field. Since a regular ambulance could not reach him in time, Haque tied him to his back and drove him to the nearest hospital. His co-worker recovered, which encouraged Haque to continue with the motorbike approach.
“Initially people laughed at me, but when help came their way in times of crisis, they started taking my work seriously,” said Haque.
Because geographically, the region is so far away from the nearest hospital—and potholes, dense forests, and elephant attacks make it a dangerous journey—ambulances usually take half a day to make it.
“The ambulances make an exception for pregnant women,” Haque said. “However, it takes them half a day to reach us. The nearest public health centre is 8km away, but it lacks proper healthcare facilities.”
Haque lives with his wife Anjuya Begum, his two sons Rajesh and Raju and their wives. Haque’s family also volunteers their time and services in support of their father’s medical mission. For his work, Haque has been awarded the Padma Shri Award, which is given to citizens of India in recognition of their distinguished contributions.