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Situation Analysis: Aravind Eye Care Systems

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                                              Situation Analysis: Aravind Eye Care Systems

                                                              One Mission Multiple Roads

           Aravind Eye Care Systems had humble beginnings. It was started by legendary doctor, Dr. G Venkataswamy (Dr. V) in the year 1976 as a 11-bed eye hospital to help the poor and needy who wanted affordable eye care. The hospital was started because of its founders philanthropic believes highly inspired by the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Aurobindo Ghosh; with name Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai a religious town in Tamil Nadu, India. Since its inception this hospital has transformed itself as more of an end to end eye specialty center and is also recognized at the global level for its efforts in eradication of blindness.  Aravind Eye Care Systems, the umbrella organization for all Aravind hospitals, research centers, mobile units etc. has been awarded with the very prestigious Bill & Melinda Gates Award for Global Health in 2008-09 and with the Clinton Global Initiative in 2008. Also, the organization is held in high regards across the medical domain in the world. The hospitals under Aravind society in 2009 did 309,015 surgeries out of which 162,809 were free.

           Aravind Eye Care Systems (AECS) follows a very simple vision that their founder Dr G Venkataswamy stated: “Elimination of needless blindness”. Even after several decades since its inception the organization follows the same vison. The entire AECS is built on basic human values of compassion, mutual respect, trust and spirituality. AECS today is not only some hospital rather is a complete suite that includes a total of 5 hospitals in Madurai, Theni, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore and Pondicherry. Apart from these hospitals AECS runs and operates 31 Vision Centers (VC) and 5 Community Eye Clinics (CEC’s) in rural areas. These VC’s and CEC’s replicated hospitals but on a smaller scale, VC’s being on a smaller scale as compared to a CEC. AECS has also opened a research center: Aravind Medical Research Foundation, Dr G.V research institute in 2008. AECS has also setup its own training institute Aravind Post Graduate Institute of Ophthalmology(APGIM) in 1982 that offers doctor and staff training facilities along with a resident post graduate program that offers degree certificates. It has a manufacturing arm called Aurolab that produces Intraocular lenses(IOL’s), absorbable sutures, green laser photo coagulator and other eye medical consumables. These supplies are also exported to various other hospitals and clinics in India and abroad. AECS in 2009 started a new initiative called Aravind Managed Eye Care Services(AMECS) where they offered their expertise to hospitals without actually owning them. Initially AMECS had tie-ups with 5 hospitals in India in 2009. Also, the AECS operates eye bank in its Madurai hospital with various collection centers in its other hospitals.

         AECS is a public outreach organization that serves even the lowest strata of people. It is an organization that is more involved in community service rather than making profits. Although a look at AECS balance sheets tells us that the organization is financially very stable, even though it provides free services to upto 60% of its patients. It has a net surplus  being 50% of its total income. AECS has normal operational figures such as a total of 3649 beds between its 5 hospitals in 2009. Out of these 3649 beds 78% beds were for free services and the rest 22% were meant for paid services. It charged a mearge sum of Rs 20 as consultation charges in its VC’s and CEC’s. However even with such low figures AECS served huge number of people and was thus able to rake in huge profits. It provided either free services to those who could not afford eye care or charged a very nominal sum for its services both in its hospitals and outreach programs. By 1997, AECS was performing a total of 123,095 surgeries and 975,868 outpatient visits. This number grew to 202,066 surgeries and 1.45 million outpatient visits in 2003.Due to the efforts of AECS the percentage of Intraocular lense surgeries increased from 65% in 2003 to 98% in 2009. The percent for cataract caused blindness came down significantly; cataract being a major operating are for AECS.



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