Subroto Das

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2004
Life Line Foundation


This profile was prepared when Subroto Das was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Among India’s labyrinthine network of highways and expressways, Dr. Subroto Das is building a comprehensive system of emergency medical care. Research has shown that 80 percent of highway fatalities can be avoided if medical help reaches the victim within the Golden Hour—the first hour after an accident. He uses existing medical facilities and state infrastructure and works with a wide range of groups from doctors to government authorities, from police personnel to petrol pump attendants, from the corporate sector to communities along the highways, to tackle any obstacle that stands in the way of rapid response to post-accident trauma.
Subroto has improved or invented roles for important stakeholders in nascent highway emergency systems. He organizes training for doctors in the emergency-room procedures and medical aspects of trauma. He has worked with police, firefighters, ambulance owners, and their drivers to ensure that they can save lives without losing money or falling into jurisdictional disputes. He trains schoolchildren in the villages along highways in primary first aid and transportation, making methods of saving lives an integral part of their education. He has mapped the highways in detail, set up a 24-hour telephone helpline, erected hundreds of road signs, and taken inventory of the personnel, facilities, and policies of every hospital, clinic, and blood bank near the highways.
The Highway Rescue Project, under the banner of the Lifeline Foundation, has saved as many as 1,258 accident victims with life threatening injuries and 1,070 with minor or moderate injuries within 39 months of the project’s launch in 2002. Subroto has successfully implemented his programs along a 1325 kilometer stretch of national highways in Gujarat and 123 kilometers in the newly started Maharashtra. Efforts are under way to spread to the more than 14,800 kilometer of highways linking the four major metropolitan cities of India. Ultimately, he plans for his systems of emergency care to reach the length and breadth of the country.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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