Women and children first: Fellows Friday with Zubaida Bai, who creates lifesaving kits for maternal health

Engineer and health entrepreneur Zubaida Bai is passionate about improving women’s lives. Through her company AYZH, she develops health products — such as the $2 Clean Birth Kit — designed to reduce maternal and infant mortality in underprivileged communities around the world. AYZH is about to launch an Indiegogo funding campaign to produce an impact analysis report on Clean Birth Kits, as well as a mobile health education platform. Here, she tells us about how she got started and her vision for women’s health.

What is your background, and what led you to start AYZH?

Growing up in India, I witnessed my mother and many women struggle with financial hardship and poor health. At a young age, I often dreamed of solutions to end this silent suffering of women. It was after earning my Masters of Science in mechanical engineering and working in the social development space for seven years that I gave birth to my first child and contracted an infection due to unsanitary birthing conditions. Doctors told me that I would not be able to have another child. It mae me very determined to make my childhood dream come true — to improve the lives of women — so I moved to the United States to obtain my MBA from Colorado State University. As an engineer, I wanted the business acumen needed to bring affordable health technologies to women in developing world markets. With the support of my husband and classmates, I founded AYZH in 2010 and launched our first product, a $2 Clean Birth Kit.