In July this year, Vision-Aid entered into a partnership with Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, to establish a National Resource Center (NRC) for the visually impaired at Aravind’s main campus in Madurai.
Aravind is the largest, and the most productive eye care system in the world, seeing approximately 1.4 million patients a year, and performing about 200,000 cataract surgeries annually. More than two-thirds of Arvind’s patient base is poor and gets free treatment. The remaining one-third pay reasonable fees which, due to its sheer scale, is enough to sustain, Aravind’s operating cost.Even though Aravind is best known for its primary eye care functions, and cataract surgeries, a lesser known fact is that thousands of patients end up each year in the Low Vision Rehabilitation section, because they have terminal vision conditions that cannot be corrected or cured. Common examples of such visual impairments include macular degeneration, and Retinitis Pigmentosa. Patients sometimes have degenerative conditions which lead to complete blindness over time.
To help Aravind address this monumental challenge, Vision-Aid has been working with Aravind to setup a state-of-the-art National Resource Center (NRC) for persons with vision related disabilities. Aravind has earmarked a dedicated space of approximately 1400 square feet, within its primary hospital, with 7 rooms, and qualified staff.
Vision-Aid is providing Aravind with the funding, equipment, devices, training and expertise to establish the NRC. The NRC programs aim to offer high quality, free and subsidized rehabilitation services, as well as devices for an estimated 1,200 visually impaired persons in the first year , with further expansion likely in future phases.Vision-Aid board members and experts have visited Aravind in August and finalized a strategy and design for the NRC. Currently the space is being remodeled to adapt to Vision-Aid’s new design layout and recommendations. Aravind staff is being trained by Vision-Aid in September,and equipment installation is also planned in September.
The first phase of this resource center is slated to open on October 1, 2018 – which coincidentally marks the 100th centenary celebrations of the remarkable life of its legendary founder Dr. Venkata Swamy (Dr. V). As the project expands into future phases, Vision-Aid plans to expand the work to include several different elements of the Vision-Aid model which has 13 different elements as outlined below.
We warmly invite any Vision-Aid family of supporters who lives in or around Madurai to visit Aravind for the inaugural function on October 1.
We thank you for your support and good wishes which made this exciting project possible.