His vision and contributions

Published - October 01, 2018 07:44 am IST - MADURAI

A book titled ‘Public health perspectives to ophthalmology’ was released during the birth centenary celebration of Aravind Eye Care System’s founder G. Venkataswamy in Madurai on Sunday.

A book titled ‘Public health perspectives to ophthalmology’ was released during the birth centenary celebration of Aravind Eye Care System’s founder G. Venkataswamy in Madurai on Sunday.

The vision and contributions of G. Venkataswamy, the founder of Aravind Eye Care System (AECS), that had a huge impact in providing eye care in the country were remembered at his birth centenary celebrations here on Sunday.

People who had long association with Dr. Venkataswamy and AECS spoke on various aspects of his life and AECS’s impact.

Prema Nandakumar, a spiritual speaker, spoke on Sri Aurobindo’s influence on Dr. Venkataswamy and how the latter believed in human unity and never thought for himself but always for the people. On AECS’s handling of huge volume of patients with no compromise on quality, she recollected how Dr. Venkataswamy in the earlier days often spoke about ‘McDonaldising’ eye care since the taste at any of McDonalds chain of restaurants never changed across the globe.

Gullapalli N. Rao, founder-chairperson of L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, said that Dr. Venkataswamy never believed in changing things incrementally and everything he did was transformational. He pointed out in particular AECS’s contributions in transforming the treatment for cataract and keratomalacia, which he said were the two major causes of needless blindness in India.

The treatment systems and protocols developed in AECS had been adopted by hospitals across the globe, he said.

Manohar Devadoss, renowned artist, spoke how the founder of AECS utilised the diverse talents available in his family from management to architecture for the benefit of the institution. Stressing that Dr. Venkataswamy was determined that the core value system of the institution never changed, he pointed out how the founder organised weekly breakfasts with third generation members of the family to discuss and inculcate the importance of values.

S.S. Pari Parameswaran, governor, Lions District 324-B3, highlighted how Dr. Venkataswamy never believed in doing everything by himself and instead believed in decentralising power.

He appealed to AECS to launch a similar venture for treating diabetes.

Asim Sil, medical director of Vivekananda Mission Asram Netra Niramay Niketan in West Bengal, highlighted how he was encouraged by Dr. Venkataswamy to go to West Bengal to set up a model eye care institution.

Raja Sabapathi, director, Ganga Hospital in Coimbatore, said he would say without hesitation that Ganga Hospital copied the model of AECS for providing trauma care. Elisabeth Kurien, chief executive officer, Mission for Vision, India, and Philip Hoare, procurement manager at International Agency for Prevention of Blindness in United Kingdom, spoke.

J. Radhakrishnan, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, spoke on Dr. Venkataswamy’s instrumental role in pushing for National Programme for Control of Blindness. He said that the model of AECS was even replicated by various governments.

R.N. Mohanty, chief executive officer of Sightsavers India, read out felicitation messages from Lady Jean Wilson, one of the founders of Sightsavers, and Caroline Harper, chief executive officer of Sightsavers.

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