Saturday, January 01, 2011

Jagriti Yatra Diary - Aravind Eye Care Systems and visit to Aurolab

Dec 29 - "Intelligence and capability are not enough. There must be the joy of doing something beautiful - Dr.G.V."

We reached Madurai and took a short bus ride to Aravind Eye Hospital. We sat through a video presentation, then an interaction with Dr.Aravind CMO and then with all the founders.

AEH was founded in 1976 by Dr.G.Venkataswamy is today the largest and most productive eye care facility in the world. It has a near perfect cross-subsidy model where those willing can pay (Approx 1/3rd), while the rest can avail the services for free (Approx 2/3rd), with no difference between the quality offered for both groups. The cost effectiveness of their work was awe-inspiring.

After the session we were split into various groups which visited their Vision Care centres, Community centres, The hospital itself and Aurolab. I changed groups to visit Aurolab and it turned out to be quite informative professionally :) We were taken on a guided trip around their manufacturing facility for Intra Ocular Lenses, Sutures, Surgical blades and medicines. They were making world class stuff at a tenth of the rates of their competitors :O

A commendable thing about the whole Aravind setup is the employment of rural womenfolk for most job from cleaning the place, to patient care to even the technicians at Aurolab! The women are recruited only from villages around each o their centres, trained and employed.

We then returned to train, as we chugged off towards Chengalpattu, my group made a Fab presentation on Technopark and G.Vijayaragahavan. We all wore traditional attire, everyone had quite a laugh and many came and congratulated us for our spirit and efforts :) Video links coming up soon

Dec 30 - Even though all of us were drained from the journey and lack of sleep, we stayed up till 12 for a short birthday celebration for one of our group members Smita. We had quite a blast at the common AC chair car before being chased off to our respective compartments :P

PS: I'll update the blog with some pictures and Video links later
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