February 2022

State Bank of India’s Shri Challa Sreenivasulu Setty MD (R&DB) and Shri R. Radhakrishna, CGM Chennai circle, inaugurate New Humphrey Visual Field Analyzer

Sankara Nethralaya has always kept up with the latest technological updates in ophthalmology. Our benefactors and supporters have believed in our mission to bring world-class quality eye-care to the have-nots regardless of their ability to pay.  On 21-02-2022, Shri Challa Sreenivasulu Setty MD (R & DB) State Bank of India and Shri R. Radhakrishna CGM Chennai circle on Shri Challa Sreenivasulu Setty MD (R&DB) SBI visited Sankara Nethralaya to inaugurate the newly installed Humphrey Visual Field Analyzer. 

Sankara Nethralaya’s association with State Bank of India dates back to the 1990s when Dr. S. S. Badrinath had approached several corporate entities for funding towards community care initiatives.  Two stalwarts of Chennai’s cityscape – State Bank of India (local head office), Chennai and the Sankara Nethralaya main campus have been neighbors at College Road for decades.  State Bank of India serves as our official banker and recommends our institution as the preferred eye care provider to its employees.

One of the earliest corporate and public sector organizations to join our fight to bring vision to the have-nots was the State Bank of India in an era when corporate social responsibility (CSR) was unknown in India.  In 2013, State Bank of India had contributed a large sum for the second floor at the A. Sivasailam Block, JKCN on Pycrofts Garden Road, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative.

Sankara Nethralaya approached the SBI seeking support to upgrade Glaucoma diagnostic equipment.  In a commendable demonstration of concern and solidarity with its cause the CSR department of the SBI agreed immediately to fund the entire cost of a New Humphrey Visual Field Analyzer.

In a brief yet evocative ceremony, Shri Challa Sreenivasulu Setty MD (R&DB) SBI inaugurated the medical equipment on Tuesday, 21-02-2022 in the presence of Shri R. Radhakrishna, CGM Chennai circle, Dr. Girish S. Rao, President, G. Ramachandran, Honorary Secretary & Treasurer, Dr. T. S. Surendran, Vice Chairman & Director of Pediatric Ophthalmology, Dr. Ronnie George, President & Director – Research, Director – Glaucoma Services, Mr. Suresh Kumar P., and Ms. Kavitha B.

This state-of-the-art New Humphrey Visual Field Analyzer will enable us to provide quality eye care for our patients.  Sankara Nethralaya sincerely thanks SBI for this support. 

Ms. Lata Mangeshkar’s support for Sankara Nethralaya’s mission to save vision

It’s a well-known fact that Srimathi M. S. Subbulakshmi, the late great Carnatic singer had strong ties to Sankara Nethralaya. It is also a well-known fact is that she was a soft-spoken ambassador for the good cause that Sankara Nethralaya stood for. In 1994, Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi was presented the Dinanth Mangeshkar Smruti Pratishthan award for her meritorious service in the Carnatic music field by Kumari Lata Mangeshkar at a function organized by Medical Research Foundation, Vision Research Foundation, and the Dinanth Smruti Pratishtan.

The Dinanth Smruti Pratishtan award was instituted by the Mumbai-based Dinanth Smruti Pratishtan to honour the memory of Marathi singer and actor, Deenanath Mangeshkar.  It is awarded annually for excellence in literature, music, and theatre.  Ms. Lata Mangeshkar, founder of the Dinanth Smruti Pratishtan and daughter of Late Deenanth Mangeshkar, presented Srimathi MS Amma, as she’s fondly called by her admirers, with a cheque and a memento, for her unforgettable contributions to Carnatic music genre.

Smt MS Amma, a humanitarian at heart, presented the cheque of the Dinanth Smruti Pratishtan Awardto Dr. S. S. Badrinath, Sankara Nethralaya’s founder.  This selfless gesture inspired the nightingale of India, Ms Lata Mangehskar to personally donate Rs. 25000 in a generous spirit to save the vision of deserving patients.

Sankara Nethralaya Celebrates Republic Day 2022

Sankara Nethralaya family once again celebrated India’s Republic Day 2022 with all the standard operating protocols in place.  With only essential staff and the Chief Guest, physically present, many more viewed the ceremony online from the safety of their homes.  The Flag hoisting ceremony started at 8:00 a.m. and Dr. G. Suganeswari offered a warm welcome to the chief guest, Dr. Prof. R. Surendran, Director of Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Centre for Surgery and Transplantation at MIOT International Hospitals, Chennai.

Joining our esteemed Chief Guest on the dais were Dr. Girish S. Rao, President, and Dr. T. S. Surendran, Vice Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya.  Mr Chellasamy I K, Chief Security Officer escorted Dr. R. Surendran to unfurl the flag, while Mr. Ravi, DPS, led everyone in singing the national anthem.  While Mr. I. K. Chellasamy introduced our chief guest to the assembled security guards, Mr. Ravi sang a moving patriotic song especially themed for Indian Republic day.

Mr. Mani Baskaran, Deputy Director of Glaucoma Services, gave a brief introduction of the history of the Constitution of India, and the significance of India’s Republic day and invited Dr. T. S. Surendran to introduce the chief guest, Dr. R, Surendran.  Dr. T. S. Surendran reminisced that about meeting Dr. R. Surendran in 1964 in school and maintaining a close friendship since.  Dr. T. S. Surendran showered his appreciation and praise on Dr. R. Surendran.  Our chief guest completed his MBBS, MS, and MCH in Stanley Hospital, and specialises in liver diseases.  He established successful liver transplants, the only of its kind in the government sector throughout India

He performed many Whipple procedures (pancreaticoduodenectomy — major operation to remove the head of the pancreas.)  His most famous achievement was to start a gastroenterology block in a government hospital overcoming the bureaucracy and offering low cost treat for liver diseases in the government hospital.  Dr. R. Surendran is an admirer of Dr. S. S. Badrinath and emulates Dr. SSB in his philanthropic deeds.

Many employees from our institution were treated by him.  He successfully initiated multi-tasking among his subordinates while working at Stanley Medical College, making his innovations unique in the government sector.  Many IAS officers are his patients, such as Sri V. Irai Anbu, Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu Government, who dedicated one of his books to Dr. R. Surendran.  Dr. T. S. Surendran concluded saying that Dr. R. Surendran was a great man and time wasn’t enough to list his outstanding qualities.

Dr. Girish S. Rao, President, honoured the Chief Guest with a ‘ponnadai’ (silk shawl).  Dr. R. Surendran took the stage and acknowledged Dr. S. S. Badrinath as his ‘Asaan’ or teacher.  He told the enthralled audience a little known factoid about the constitution – the Indian Constitution consists of 328 pages and the largest constitution in the world.  He spoke of the inequalities existing in our country – the rich get better medical treatment than the have-nots in spite of our Constitution speaking of the right to equality and freedom.

He recounted a small incident demonstrating Dr. S. S. Badrinath’s humanitarianism – a patient from the North East region of India who came to Sankara Nethralaya for treatment suffered a stroke on the day of his discharge, and became semi-comatose.  Dr. T. S. Surendran coordinated with Dr. R. Surendran who was in Stanley Hospital for the patient’s admission to the Neuro- ICU.  But Dr. Badrinath took a personal interest and sent the patient to Apollo Hospital, spending a princely sum on the patient’s recovery, stating that it was Sankara Nethralaya’s responsibility to send the patient back in good health.  Dr. R. Surendran said Sankara Nethralaya staff is very fortunate to work in a humanitarian atmosphere led by Dr. Badrinath’s spirit of selflessness.  He called for young doctors and other youngsters to make the world a better place, and reminded the younger generation to remember their early enthusiasm to help the poor and not change to materialism when they got older.

Dr. R. Surendran advised the young doctors that success is not important but significance is important.  He elaborated that while skill and knowledge made good doctors, empathy was important to become a great doctor.  He urged the young doctors to choose a significant life of character.  He ended his speech by blessing Sankara Nethralaya to grow in the same spirit of missionary vision.

Dr. G. Suganeswari thanked Dr. R. Surendran for his inspirational speech and announced the presentation of service awards.  She called on Mrs. Sudha Mohan to announce the Dhingra Trust Awards for the children of employees who had excelled in their studies.  On the occasion of India’s 50th Independence day, the institution had taken a vow to grant merit awards to employees’ children who scored 80% and above in their academics.  The Dhingra Family Trust was established in 2004 by Sri Ram Dhingra who belongs to California, USA, for the children of employees who scored above 70%, and going on for college education.  A total of 21 children – 18 from Chennai and 3 from Kolkota were the joyful recipients of the Dhingra Trust awards.

After the awards were distributed, one of the awardees, Ms. Janani, daughter of Ms. Revathy, Department of Patient Services, shared her thoughts and thanked the institution on behalf of all the awardees.

Mrs. Shalini Srikumar, who started her career at Sankara Nethralaya as a consultant secretary in 1997, was encouraged to become a clinical research coordinator.  Her daughter too was the recipient of the Dhingra Trust Awards.  She thanked the institution for encouraging the students in their future careers and enabling the employees to have good careers.

Dr. Suganeswari concluded the Republic Day celebrations by thanking the Chief Guest, Dr. R. Surendran, Dr. Girish S. Rao, President, and Dr. T. S. Surendran for attending the event.  She also thanked the security guards, housekeeping, and all the other staff who attended the event. She ended by quoting Dr. Abdul Kalam, “A dream is not that which you see while sleeping, it is something that does not let you sleep.”

Sankara Nethralaya’s Virtual Concert: Raised $101,010

Greetings from Sankara Nethralaya USA. Sankara Nethralaya’s patriotic songs concert raised $101,010 to restore vision to 1,554 indigent blind patients.

Inspired by a speech by Pontiff of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham he attended in 1974, Dr. S S Badrinath founded Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai in 1978 with the sole objective of providing world class eye care, free to the poor and affordable price to others. Sankara Nethralaya (SN) is a not-for-profit charity organization providing ophthalmic (eye) care throughout India.

For the last four decades, SN has treated millions of patients. Nethralaya also holds eye camps, school screenings and eye bank. One of the unique services is Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU), only one of its kind approved by Government of India. These are operation theatres on wheels. MESU consists of two buses serving as operation theatre, go out remote villages, perform cataract surgeries on 150 to 200 patients over a two-week period and return to main campus after post-operative care.

Sankara Nethralaya USA (SN USA), our fund-raising arm in US was established in 1988 with the sole objective of raising funds for Nethralaya to provide free services to indigent patients. SN USA is managed by thirty-five honorary trustees spread across fourteen chapters in US and has been raising over a million dollars during the past several years.

Every year, Sankara Nethralaya USA organizes Indian classical dance and music programs in various cities to raise awareness and funds. Because of the pandemic, this year all programs were conducted through online virtual streaming.

Indian patriotic songs concert was organized on January 30th, 2022, and it was telecasted by the following major channels:

ManaTV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhamllfcCiM

TVAsia Telugu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEpXgUkZqy8

SakshiTV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftFQw6dbrr0

TV5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJOs0jedy5M

99TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTDSogOble0

GNN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah0-HpMLYtE

Great response was received for the program and through this, Sankara Nethralaya USA raised $101,010 to restore vision to 1,554 indigent blind patients in India. Kudos to the patrons, Philanthropists, and community across the USA for unconditional support.

President Bala Reddy Indurti, President Emeritus S V Acharya, Vice President Moorthy Rekapalli planned, coordinated, and executed the Sankara Nethralaya USA Republic day campaign with grand success.

Shailesh Lakthakia, IFS, Consul (Retd), Indian Consulate, Atlanta GA gave passionate appeal about Republic Day virtual concert to encourage the donors. Dr. Girish Rao, President of Sankara Nethralaya made appeal to the community for the campaign and explained Sankara Nethralaya service activities.

Sankara Nethralaya USA’s Past President Leela Krishnamurthy and Board Of Trustee Upendra Rachupally also gave video appeal during the program.

During the program the MESU (Mobile Eye Surgical Unit) operations and the following brand ambassadors’ messages were shown: Former President and Bharat Ratna awardee Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Bharat Ratna Smt M.S. Subbalakshmi, Padma Vibhushan Nani Phalkiwala, Padma Vibhushan Ratan Tata, Padma Vibhushan Amitabh Bachchan, Padma Vibhushan Rajnikanth, Padma Shri Sourav Ganguly, DRDO Chairman Dr. Satheesh Reddy, Tollywood actor Madhavan. Sankara Nethralaya Team is very thankful to these ambassadors.

President Bala Indurti coordinated with Joint Secretary, Prasad Rani & Board of Trustee, Shyam Appali to present this virtual concert on January 30th through various TV channels and social media.

President Emeritus SV Acharya announced new Board of Trustees Rao Kalvala (Dallas TX) and Dr. Madhuri Namuduri for the year 2022.

Thanks to Board of Trustee Sowmia Narayan for coordinating and presenting daily classical singing virtual concert “Do you have 11 minutes?”. We have participants from US, India, UAE, Canada, and Australia.

Thanks are due to Neelima Gaddamanugu and Narayan Indurthi for promoting Republic Day concert in social media.

Singers Names, Song, and their Geographical Locations:
Srivalli Sridhar – Vinara Vinara Desam Manadera – Atlanta GA USA
Usha Mocherla – Jaya Jaya Priya Bharatha – Atlanta GA USA
Ram Durvasula – Punya Bhumi naa desam – Atlanta GA USA
Srinivas Durgam – Janani Janma Bhoomi – Atlanta GA USA
Radhika Nori – Padavoyi Bharateeyuda- Talahasse FL USA
Shivnath Paranandi – Jis desh mein ganga behti hai – Los Angeles CA USA
Sabari Girish & Keerthana Girish – Mile Sur Mera Tumhara – Los Angeles CA USA
Sai Kasibhatla – Bharata Mataku Jejelu – Los Angeles CA USA
Bhaskar Ganti – Naa Janma Bhoomi Yenthaandhamaina – Rockville MD USA
Nagarjuna Reddy – Gandhi puttina desama idi – Ashburn VA USA
Harini Sugantharaman – Ninnai Charanadainthen – Ashburn VA USA
Sandhya Eswara – Aye Mere Wattan Ke Logo – Melbourne Australia

Thanks are due to all Board of Trustees, Volunteers, Philanthropists, and supporters who are working selflessly to restore vision for indigent patients.

Thanks are due to media partners manaTV, manaTV International, TV5 (Sridhar Chillara, Raagini, Harish Bennuri, and Sharat Pasumathy), TVAsia Telugu (Srinivas Ganagoni), Sakshi TV (Simha Hanumanth), 99TV (Harikrishna Inturu) , and GNN (Rama Mohan Reddy Yellampally & Ravi Reddy Maraka) for promoting Sankara Nethralaya patriotic songs’s virtual concert on January 30th at different timings to give the flexibility to all viewers in different time zones.

Sankara Nethralaya professionals were awarded with numerous awards for their outstanding accomplishments. Our founder Dr. S S Badrinath was given the prestigious awards of Living Legend and Padma Bhushan for his outstanding public service. Newsweek named Sankara Nethralaya as one of the four Best Ophthalmic institutions and one of the Best one hundred hospitals in the World. SN USA, our fund-raising arm in US was given the given the highest rating of four stars by prestigious rating organization Charity Navigator.

Please extend your support for this noble cause of restoring the vision of indigent patients by generously contributing at https://www.sankaranethralayausa.org/

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