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Aravind Eye Hospital Making A Dent In Global BlindnessIntroduction:Aravind Eye Hospital is internationally recognized as an best institution suitedto make not just a dent, but a grand canyon in the world of blindness.Nearly twenty-four million blind in the world.One-Third of them are unnecessarily blind.Aravind Eye Clinic perfected an assembly-line technique of surgery to increasethe productivity.Thousands of blind poor are operated for free and only 30% of its patients payfees.Makes 35% operating profit.Treats 2.4 million outpatients and does 2,86,000 cataract surgeries every year.
Beginning with A Dream: Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy wanted to be a gynecologist after his 3 cousins died in early childhood. But as he was going to start his career he fall sick and was bedridden for 2 years with crippling rheumatoid arthritis. He recovered from his disease but he couldn’t do the heavy surgical work required to do for gynecology and he took for ophthalmology. Dr.V had a dream to eliminate unnecessary blindness in India. Treating unnecessary blindness became passion for him. While engaging the treatment of blind people he realized that he was just not restoring eye sight but extending the lifespan of treated people. After retiring in 1976 he decided to setup a hospital to treat unnecessary blindness and this is how a dream Aravind Eye Hospital started. And to support Dr.V his sister and her husband joint Dr.V
Following The Dream The trio needed funding to begin this dream project. They thought that it would not be difficult to raise money for this good cause. But they were mistaken. Nobody helped. Banks also refused to give them loan. After that they decided not to ask for loan again. They began with 11 bed hospital in Dr. V’s house and G. Srinivasan mortgage Jewllery to buy equipments. In a few years 2 more Doctors joined Dr.V. and the pool of doctors grew to 5. G. Srinivasan, an engineer, took charge of the construction and the finances. Following Milestones were achieved:1. 1977: bulit a building with thirty beds2. 1978: built a low-c0st hospital with a hundred beds3. 1980: moved into its present facility at madurai4. 1982: present facility expanded to 200 beds and 3 operating rooms5. 1984: free hospital set up with 400 beds and 3 operating rooms
6. 1985: Aravind hospital at Theni set up7. 1988: Aravind Hospital at Tirunelveli set up for 135 paing 400 free patients8. 1991: Facility at Madurai expanded to accommodate 280 paying and 1100 free patients.9. 1992: Aurolab set up10. 1996: Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology set up.11. 1997: Aravind, Coimbatore, set up12. 1999: hostel for PG doctors set up13. 2001: free hospital expanded to accommodate another 400 patients.14. 2001: nurses residential qaurters set up15. 2003: Aravind Pondicherry, set up16. 2004: Outpatient clinic at Melur Started, now expanded to four outpatient clinics at Thirumangalam, Tuticorin, and Tirupur.17. 2005: Vision centre serving population of 50,000 piloted, has grown to 30 vision centres at present18. 2007: New state-of-art manufacturing facility inaugurated, manufacturing intraocular lenses, sutures, blades and pharmaceutical products used in eye care.19. 2007: Aravind Managed Eye Care Service Division started to manage eye hospitals in other parts of the country.20. 2007: Dr. V Eye Research Institute, a new research facility started to conduct research in molecular biology, genetic disorders in eyes and proteomic studies.
The Famous Assembly Line: As Dr. V and his team started conducting cataract surgeries in rural areas by travelling hundreds of kilometers. But the impact seemed to be very small Around this time Dr. V went to U.S and learned assembly line operations from McDonald’s restaurants. And it made a radical differnce. An average ophthalmologist operates on 250 to 400 patients a year. An Aravind ophthalmologist using McDonald’s assembly line technique operates 2000 patients a year. At Aravind in One operation theatre has 4 operating tables laid side by side and 2 surgeons handle these 4 tables. And 4 nurses assist the doctors so that other work of doctor’s released and doctor’s can concentrate more on surgeries.
The Dynamics of Next-Horizon Thinking Everyone in Aravind strikes about the next horizon. Aravind Eye Hospital is currently doing2,86,000 surgeries a year and Dr. Aravind talks about scaling this to 1 million by 2015. Dr. Nam talks about eradicating diabetic-related blindness in another 10 years despite of the fact that there are around 42 million diabetics, of which 20% tend to suffer from diabetics-related blindness. Dr. V talks about using IT and rural internet connectivity to bring in more patients. The entire organiztion is obsessed with the next horizon The ambition now is to reach a billion people.