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Aravind Eye Care Hospital

Author: Costanza Cappello
Published Date: 15 December 2008

The Aravind Eye Hospital is an Indian clinic for eye treatment that has been able to develop a sustainable method to provide access to eye care for India's poorest patient.

The Aravind Eye Care Hospital began as a small clinic of just 11 beds in Madurai, Tamil Nadu in 1976. Since its establishment is has treated over 2.4 million patients. Currently there are 12 million people suffering from blindness in India, 80% of which is treatable.

The hospital, founded by Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, seeks to make eye care available to those who cannot afford it, whilst still treating people across the whole spectrum of society. Using this as the main pillar of the Hospitals function, Aravind hospitals ask all patients to pay for their treatment, but those cannot afford are treated free of charge. However, those able to pay are given extra comforts such as greater privacy and air conditioning.

Notwithstanding, there is no difference in the quality of care provided. This is done by rotating doctors between all patients and nurses being responsible for pre and post-op care. Their surgical equipment operates 24 hours a day allowing for a higher doctor productivity. This alternative health care model has proved to be self supporting and deeply valuable to patients who would not otherwise have access to healthcare. This model has proved so sustainable that it has spread to Malawi, Egypt and Guatemala.