Dr. Natchiar says more volume to sustain the model is the mantra

What began in a rented house with 11 beds in 1976 is today a group with over 57 centres comprising five tertiary care centres, five secondary care centres, six outpatient centres and 41 vision centres.

Yes the inference is about Madurai-based Aravind Eye Care System that was founded by Govindappa Venkataswamy. The eye care system is today a model and a case study for numerous medical institutions and governments across the globe. But, the Vice Chairman Emeritus of Aravind and the sister of Venkataswamy, G. Natchiar modestly said, “Aravind is not only a model for eye care or health it is a model for attitude and can be replicated in all areas.”

She was here to address the delegates at the two-day workshop Innovations in Education, Health, Urban Governance and e-Governance, organised by the Centre for Innovations in Public Systems (CIPS) in association with Andhra Pradesh Commissionerate of Collegiate Education.

Delivering her talk on Saturday, she said, “Our vision is to eliminate needless blindness by providing high quality, high volume and compassionate eye care to all. And that set us ticking. In the world, there are about 40 million blind people and of which 12 million are in India and out of that 2 million are children. And the important fact is that 80 per cent can be cured. While cataract surgery can give sight to 7.5 million, a pair of spectacles can make a difference for 2.4 millions.”

Citing the main reasons for blindness, especially among the rural folks, she said, “Low income level, malnutrition, illiteracy that leads to low health awareness and difficult living conditions.” Explaining the success model, Dr. Natchiar said,

“We have primarily addressed the main challenges: Access, affordability and quality.”

To gain access, Aravind has well-trained outreach teams that conduct over 45 eye camps in rural areas on a weekly basis and once screened, medication or surgery is performed.

So far Aravind has done over 4 million surgeries.

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