Friday, May 30, 2014

Providing eye care to the poor

We started off the day by visiting the Sankara Eye Hospital, which seeks to eradicate preventable and curable blindness from India, where about 25 percent of the world's blind live.
We started off the day by visiting the Sankara Eye Hospital, which seeks to eradicate preventable and curable blindness from India. Currently about 25 percent of the world's blind population reside in India.

Sankara follows an 80:20 model, meaning 80 percent of services are provided for free and the revenue generated from the other 20 percent is used to cross-subsidize eye care to the underprivileged.

This model sustains 84 percent of the operating costs, while the rest is covered by donors. It was really cool to see such a sustainable business model, especially since we'll be starting our own venture plans soon.


Even though Sankara is a nonprofit, they are able to secure the best technology and doctors because they are seeking experience.

Each day, the Bangalore location has about 200 rural (nonpaying) patients who are able to be treated with a 98.8 percent success rate. Sankara currently has 13 hospitals, and they are seeking to expand to 20 locations by the year 2020.

In between lectures we got to tour the hospital. We got to see the schoolrooms where they train high school graduates to work in the hospital, rehabilitation rooms, exam rooms, paying patient rooms and services, the beds where the nonpaying patients recover, glass eyes, and a cataract surgery. It was very interesting to be able to see the hospital at work.

One of the coolest features was a vision impaired friendly play area. This included Snakes and Ladders in braille, tactile Tic Tac Toe, and other games.

They also had objects hanging outside the restrooms to distinguish between men's and women's. It was encouraging to see how much thought was put in for their patients.

At the end of the visit, we split into groups to design a webpage with colored pencils and poster board to showcase Sankara and earn our lunch.

We then headed to IIHS to finish up the day's activities.


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