Return to Previous Page

AYZH: Improving Health and Livelihood of Women Using Business Solutions*

ET Cases - GSMC, 8 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Neha Kaur, Assistant Professor, Centre for Business Administration, Central University of Jharkhand, Brambe, Ranchi

Case Preview

AYZH: Improving Health and Livelihood of Women Using Business Solutions


“After seeing women giving birth on soiled concrete surfaces, talking with midwives, and seeing the gravity of the situation firsthand, I knew that AYZH’s purpose was incredibly important.”

– Zubaida Bai, CEO and Founder, AYZH


Maternal death can occur at any time in pregnancy, but delivery is by far the most crucial both the mother and the baby. Every two minutes, 60 women die giving birth for lack of access to safe birth supplies. Nearly 17% of women die from preventable infections. A majority of such deaths can be prevented if access to sanitary birthing conditions is ensured. Be it a war like situation or a normal peaceful day, a pregnant woman needs access to appropriate medical assistance – skilled medical staff, drugs and equipment – to save her own life and her baby.

High rates of maternal mortality in developing countries indicate a crucial need for innovative interventions for pregnancy and neonatal care. According to Global health experts it is recommended to institutionalize births (as opposed to home births) as a strategy to achieve Millennium Development Goals to reduce maternal mortality. There has been a global push among women to deliver in health facilities. Unfortunately, most of the health institutions lack the infrastructure and trained medical professionals to handle increased volume of births. Due to this, unsanitary birthing conditions persist even in hospital settings and infection rates remain high leading to high maternal mortality...........

Capturing Research-based Insights

After her first childbirth Zubaida contracted an infection as the hospital had overlooked to put her on antibiotics after the delivery. She had spent a year recovering from it. During research Zubaida saw a midwife use a sickle to deliver the baby. This was the Aha! Moment for Zubaida who reflected that if she had the best of services and still contracted an infection due to an oversight what would be the misery of this woman for whose delivery there were no protocols followed and the crudest of procedures followed.................

Pricing of the Kit: A Critical Decision

The focus group and observational interviews of women during a field trip revealed that the target beneficiaries (impoverished women) would not be able to afford high price for the birthing kit. Pricing of the birthing kit was thus a crucial decision for AYZH...........

A Humble Start

To begin with, AYZH collaborated with the panchayat of Kuthambakkam, a small village on the outskirts of Chennai and trained three of its women to assemble the birthing kits. This gave birth to JANMA, the first product of AYZH. AYZH selected India on the basis of the management team’s expertise in the region and established connections with local NGOs and SHGs. AYZH entered India through Tamil Nadu, a Southern state with a population of 6 million...............

Establishing a Unique Product through Value Exploration

AYZH has been developing modular products. The $2 clean delivery birth kit – JANMA targeted at hospitals, rural clinics, primary health care centers and midwives to deliver babies was launched in December 2010. AZYH uses its products to match their efforts with education by partnering with local organizations to offer capacity building training to women in the communities they serve...........

Social Value Creation through Strategic Partnerships

Zubaida Bai was selected for the Ashoka Foundation’s Young Champion for Maternal Health fellowship in 2011. This paved way for new avenues for AYZH globally and in India. She met Katherine Hall of the USbased ‘The Birthing Project’, who then took JANMA to Uganda, Ghana and Malawi in Africa. The fellowship not only brought AYZH to light but in 2012 helped it receive funding from undisclosed social impact institutional investors who also serve on AYZH’s advisory board...............

Scalable Access to Target Beneficiaries using a Unique B2B Model

There is not only a great need but ample opportunities within India to impact the lives of impoverished women. AYZH segments its market on the basis of geographic regions, informal occupation, age and maternal status. This segmentation helps in guiding the research and product development and also directs how to position products in specific markets.............

Unique Lending Model: A Big Step towards Sustainability

AYZH is reaching out to Africa via a unique lending model. AYZH provides zero percent interest loans paid in the form of JANMA clean birth kits to entrepreneurs in Ghana and Zambia, who are then able to re-sell the kits. The cost per kit to the entrepreneurs is valued at $4, and they are further re-sold for an affordable $7-$9. The kit has environmental-friendly and culturally appealing materials...............

Challenges Faced

The journey has been really long for Zubaida Bai. Often Zubaida meets investors and other influential individuals who are unaware of the situation faced by women in India and many other countries. Sanitary and sterile conditions are “a given” for people in the west and it is often hard for them to understand the real dangers encountered by majority of women in developing countries...........

Milestones Achieved

Zubaida Bai’s professional experience, coupled with her personal passion for empowering underserved women, led to her being selected as a TED India fellow (2009), Ashoka Maternal Health fellow (2010-2011)20, Echoing Green fellow (2012) and Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (2013) . In 2011, Zubaida’s design of the flagship AYZH product JANMA...........

Expansion Plans

AYZH aims to increase its ‘kit style’ product line to deal with new needs of existing clients (for example, newborn care, prevention of postpartum hemorrhage and menstrual hygiene solutions). Their product suite is being developed in tandem with the Safe Birth Checklist Initiative of the World Health Organization; at a time when AYZH is looking forward to increase volumes by penetrating north India and offshore production to spread out its reach overseas..............

Future Outlook and Social Impact

AYZH aims to be the leading global provider of life saving and changing solutions for women. With their for-profit approach and “for women by women” philosophy, AYZH identifies women’s needs, then designs, delivers, and scales affordable technologies like JANMA birth kit to meet those needs, increase income, and improve health. Contacting infections during child birth not only takes a tremendous toll on the health of women but also results in a significant loss of time and disposable income of the family.............

Teaching Note Preview

AYZH: Improving Health and Livelihood of Women Using Business Solutions



This case study focusses largely on business fundamentals and strategy concepts for social enterprises. It offers the how and why of social business, in a setting that emphasizes innovation and practical application. The case further highlights the key initiatives of the social venture in detail and identifies the key marketing practices that are essential to successful and sustainable performance of social ventures in rural areas.

Pedagogical Objectives

  • • To examine the way marketing initiatives are built around social issues
  • • To appreciate the sound business strategies and skills that can be utilized to bring about a social change and at the same time ensure sustainability of services
  • • To understand how strategic partnerships can be gainfully employed in the context of social entrepreneurship
  • • To know the challenges faced by a social entrepreneur and identify the strategies adopted by a prudent entrepreneur to counter them
  • • To understand the significance of innovative business solutions to solve the complex social problems in the country
  • • To enable a better comprehension of the context of social entrepreneurship
  • • To understand the significance of market research in enabling social entrepreneurs respond with appropriate solutions that address specific social needs
  • • To identify barriers and triggers to social entrepreneurship


Assignment Questions

  • I. What is the role of partnerships in the context of social entrepreneurship?
  • II. How has AYZH managed to reduce costs?
  • III. Why was pricing of JANMA a critical decision for AYZH?
  • IV. ....................

Rs 0
Product code: ENTP-1-0005, ENTP-1-0005A


Maternal health is one of the most pressing issues in the developing countries, with millions of women struggling on a daily basis to get access to basic health care for themselves and their children. According to the World Health Organization, almost 11% of maternal deaths globally occur due to unsanitary birthing conditions.1 Despite the number of schemes and initiatives to improve quality aspects of maternal health care, India continues to contribute about a quarter of the total global maternal deaths. To secure a large population of women from fatality, mere contributions by governments and NGOs are not sufficient. Knowing this, Zubaida Bai, an engineer by training and designer of several low-cost products founded AYZH, a for-profit organization that designs, develops and delivers lifesaving products that improves the health and livelihood of impoverished women using business solutions that are financially sustainable. AYZH launched its first core product, JANMA, a INR150 clean birth kit, to help hospitals and non-profit organizations prevent infection at the time of birth and reduce maternal mortality. Having sold about 1,20,000 JANMA kits, AYZH, which began its operations in Southern India, enjoys a large market in Afghanistan, Gambia, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The AYZH team has been bootstrapping success for over 4 years and its unique business model has gained acceptance for its forward thinking from organizations like TED, Ashoka Changemakers, World Economic Forum and Echoing Green. Drawing upon insights from in-depth interviews taken from key  representatives of AYZH, this case delivers an invigorating blend of business fundamentals and strategy concepts for social enterprises. It offers the how and why of social business, in a setting that emphasizes innovation and practical application. The case study further highlights the key initiatives of the venture in detail and also identifies the key marketing practices that are essential to successful and sustainable performance of social ventures in rural areas.

1 “World Health Statistics 2014”, World Health Organization, Geneva, 2014

* GSMC 2014, IIM Raipur

This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)

**Electronic downloadable links (PDFs, PPTs, Supplements etc.) are available immediately after purchase. Please use Indian Currency Option (INR) when you are Making Payment within India. "No. of Copies" reflects the number of permissions you intend to use in Classroom Discussions / Corporate Trainings.

No. of Copies
Rs 0

Related products

Request for an Inspection Copy

(Strictly for Review Purpose, Not to be Used for Classroom Discussion/Trainings)