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Articles: Development
Vision 20/20 - Sankara Eye Hospital, Guntur
- Venkat Maddipati
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Sankara Eye Hospital

“I have seen good service in hospitals, and I have seen devotion in temples and religious centers, but here in Sankara Eye Society I see service combined with devotion.” - Dr. Abdul Kalam, President of India.

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45 million people in India are visually handicapped and 12 million are totally blind. These alarming numbers may be attributed to lack of facilities in rural areas, inability to afford quality treatment, and lack of awareness that blindness or visual handicap is curable and not a wrath of God. More than 80% of this blindness is preventable or curable. Sankara Eye Foundation’s (SEF) mission is “Vision 20/20 by the year 2020” – eradicate curable blindness in India by the year 2020. SEF was founded in 1998 as a non-profit organization, and is run entirely by volunteers. SEF provides free community eye care in India, through its affiliate Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Trust, Sankara Eye Society, which was established 25 years ago in Tamilnadu, by Dr. Ramani and Dr. Radha Ramani, with the blessings of Kanchi Sankaracharyas. Nominated by His Holiness Sri Kanchi Sankaracharya, Dr. Abdul Kalam (current President of India), and Dr. B. K. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar, Chairman of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Dr. Ramani received the “Role Model” award from the BREAD (Basic Research, Education, and Development) Society in the year 2000, for his services. Focus - Andhra Pradesh With an experience of about 150,000 successful free eye surgeries (over 99% success rate) and over 2000 rural eye camps, Sankara Eye Society is undertaking the first expansion project by building a modern eye hospital in Andhra Pradesh state, where there are 8 million visually handicapped people and only 9 eye hospitals. 72% of the population in Andhra Pradesh live in rural areas and is in need of a comprehensive rural outreach eye care program. The generous Janachaitanya family donated 4.5 acres of land in Pedakakani village on the Guntur – Vijayawada highway. The Sankara Eye Hospitals aim to provide very high quality eye care for every one irrespective of their socio economic status. While the poor patients are served at their doorsteps in the surrounding villages, services to others are provided at an affordable cost. Since its inception, SEF helped increase free annual eye surgeries in India from 8,000 to 40,000 in 2002, and is working to raise $1.25 million for the new eye hospital in Andhra Pradesh. All government permits for the hospital are secured. Roof will be laid in the second half of 2003. Free services provided by Sankara Eye Society Organization of the outreach vision screening at village level (visits to villages): Preliminary survey of the economically weaker sections Issuance of ID cards to the visually handicapped poor patients Arrangements in the local school for the Sunday morning screening camp Transportation, accommodation and food for the team of Doctors and paramedics for the screening camp Screening camp conduction and identification of the needy patients Transportation of identified patients to the base hospital in hospital's bus and by train in certain instances Accommodation at the base hospital Food for patients: Morning Tea, Breakfast, Lunch, Evening Tea, and Dinner and a fruit Vegetarian food prepared in hospital’s cafeteria under hygienic conditions Preliminary Investigations and assessment of the patients Treatment for certain co-existing conditions like Diabetes and Hypertension Most surgeries are with IOL (Intra Ocular Lens) Implants. 98% of the surgeries are Small Incision Sutureless Manual Phaco surgeries, using the state-of-the-art procedure identical to that which is used all over the world Laser procedures; Cataract, Glaucoma, Oculoplasty, and Vitreo Retinal surgeries are performed Majority of surgeries (up to 88%) are cataract surgeries The immediate post operative care for 2-3 days Discharge and transportation of the patients back home with medicines and clear instructions on post operative care Review and follow up of all the operated patients after 30 days in their respective villages A sizeable percentage of patients with systemic illness like Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiac diseases and Respiratory diseases apart from certain neurological problems like epilepsy, are prone to Strokes, Myocardial Ischaemia, Myocardial Infarction, Status anthmaticus, severe fits etc. Such complications that arise during their stay at the base hospital are addressed with the help of local cardiology or neurology centers, at Sankara Eye Society’s expense. Sponsorship Details A donor or group of donors could sponsor entire hospital, construction of the structure, infrastructure, or medical equipment. Additional donations would be required to operate the hospital. Rooms could be sponsored for as little as $10,000. Sponsors could donate starting from $1,000 for a name on the ‘Wall of Founders`. Several rooms have been sponsored and about 60 more need to be sponsored. Construction of the Structure $250,000 : North Block – First Floor $250,000 : North Block – Ground Floor $250,000 : South Block – Ground Floor (Free Section) Examples of other possible sponsorships for Free Section: $100,000 : General Ward (100 Beds) $50,000 : Registration Wing $25,000 : Pediatric Ward (25 beds) or Dining Hall $10,000 : Registration and Records Examples of other possible sponsorships for North Block / Paying Section $25,000 : Any one of the following room/area: Operation Theater 1, Operation Theater 2, Conference Hall, Waiting Hall 1 (Patient Counseling). $25,000: Super Deluxe Single Occupancy Room $10,000 : Any one of the following room/area: Deluxe rooms Single-Occupancy, Semi-Deluxe Double-Occupancy, Registration, Waiting Hall 2, Class Room with Library, or Administrative Office. Infrastructure Entire infrastructure could be sponsored for $300,000. Other examples are given below: $100,000 : Roads, pavements, drains, underground sump, overhead water tank, sewage treatment plant, fire fighting system, power facility, and generator shed. $50,000 : Vehicles (8-seater, 12-seater, 30-seater, and 65-seater). Donor could sponsor individual vehicle. Exact cost of the vehicle determined at the time of purchase. $50,000 : Staff Quarters or Cafeteria $20,000 : Computers, Printers/Scanners, and Software. $10,000 : Laundry Equipment or Kitchen Equipment Medical Equipment All of the medical equipment could be sponsored for $250,000. Most international ophthalmic manufacturers have authorized dealers in India. It is ideal to buy the equipment in India so that after sales service would be readily available. Individual medical equipment could also be sponsored. Sankara Eye Society Established Sankara Eye Center in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, in 1977. Recognized as a Model Eye Bank for the Nation. Everyday, Performs 150 free eye surgeries Receives a pair of donor’s eyes Free food provided to 400 – 500 patients Conducted over 2,000 weekly eye camps in the states of Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Pondicherry. Reaches about 20 million people. Screened over 2.6 million school children and provided over 12,000 free eyeglasses - Rainbow preventive eye care program. Established Sankara – Tulsi National Institute of Community Ophthalmology to train medical and paramedical personnel across the nation and other developing countries.

Contact Info: USA: Sankara Eye Foundation 3175 Arcola Court San Jose, CA 95148 USA 1-(866) 726-5272 1-(866) SANKARA Volunteer Contact: Venkat Maddipati Email: All donations are tax deductible in USA. A 501-© (3) charitable organization. EIN: 77-6141976 India: Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Trust Sankara Eye Center Sivanandapuram, Coimbatore Tamilnadu, 641 035, India 91-422-2666450 All donations to Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Trust are exempt from income tax in India.

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