“The facility will help thousands of patients”
Almost four decades after making a humble beginning in Madurai, the Aravind Eye Hospital that has transformed into a major destination of eye care is proposing to establish a world class ophthalmic facility in Chennai.
The Govel Trust, a public charitable trust that runs the hospital, has acquired seven acres of land at Maduravoyal where the state-of-the-art 700 bed hospital, of which 450 earmarked for free cases, is expected to come up in a couple of years.
With just eleven beds, the AEH that embarked on a mission to eliminate preventable blindness in 1976 is today a large productive eye care facility with over 4,000 beds.
According to executive director R.D. Thulasiraj, 65 per cent of the total surgeries in Aravind Eye Hospital were performed either free of cost or heavily subsidised rates. The hospital contributed to 45% of the total cataract surgeries done in Tamil Nadu.
“Aravind Eye Care System has created a self-sustaining model, whereby the free patient care is provided through the revenue generated from the paying patients without raising any donations from any sources.
This model is included as a case study in Harvard Business School and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Kolkata. AEH is also is a select member of the WHO collaborating centre for prevention of blindness and is the only centre in the State to have this accreditation,” he said. Besides making its presence in the State capital, another reason for the AEH to set its foot in Chennai is that a large number of patients from India and abroad travel via Chennai to reach the hospital in Madurai. “Apart from industry and education, Chennai had also emerged a hub of medical tourism. Having a hospital here will help thousands of patients each month,” Mr. Thulasiraj added. In order to sustain its rural connectivity, the hospital plans to conduct eye camps within a 100-km radius of Chennai after commissioning the proposed facility. Head of the Medical Education Department Dr. N. Venkatesh Prajna said the AEH manufactured its own high-quality intraocular lens used in cataract surgeries.
“Entering Chennai will be a major milestone for the AEH in continuing its mission to eradicate needless blindness by way of making quality eye care accessible and affordable,” Dr. Prajna added.