cost free eye care initiatives

An old friend and well wisher initiates and supports State of the Art eye care in a semi-urban pocket bordering Chennai.

Mobile Eye Surgical Unit

The House of GRT and its founder Shri G.Rajendran have been long time friends of Sankara Nethralaya and hold its founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. SS.Badrinath, in the highest regard; they have risen to the occasion most magnanimously and supported many cost free eye care initiatives most generously. The group has also made a handsome donation towards meeting the cost of constructing an entire floor at the Sri A.Sivasailam block, Sankara Nethralaya’s State of the Art eye care center to be inaugurated soon at the old Lady Willingdon Hospital Campus. A group with a strong commitment to serving the poor and needy, the house of GRT expressed its desire to take quality eye care to the town of Tirutani and its neighbouring villages through eye screening and on the spot cataract surgery enabled by Sankara Nethralaya’s   ‘Mobile Eye Surgical Unit’ (MESU), the ground work by the two organizations for the same started in right earnest, well in advance of the camp.

In keeping with the saying ‘do a good thing and many good people will follow you’ the local chapters of well known service organizations like the Lions Club, Rotary Club, Catholic Society of Canada and the Tiruvalur District Blindness Control Society rose to the occasion most admirably and a comprehensive eye screening camp was conducted by Sankara Nethralaya’s outdoor eye care team. The Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) reached the GRT Institute of Engineering Technology at GRT Mahalakshmi Nagar, Tirutani, the venue of the camp on the morning of the 15th of February 2015 and started the eye screening on the same day. The camp was very well received and a total of 796 local people were screened, high quality cataract removal surgery followed by implantation of intra-ocular lens was carried out and vision revived for 155 patients at the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) by the outdoor eye care team, between the 15th and 24th of February 2015. The beneficiaries of the screening camp included the residents of Tirutani town, neighbouring villages and the students and faculty members of the GRT educational institutions.

The ‘Geetham Hall’, GRT Hotel, Tirutani, the venue of the inaugural function was packed to capacity on the 18th of February, Dr SS.Badrinath extended a warm welcome to the gathering and thanked them for the overwhelming response, he introduced the honourable Chief Guest of the day Shri K. Veera Raghava Rao IAS, District Collector, Tiruvallur and thanked him for gracing the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, guest of honour Shri T.V Antony, distinguished civil servant and former Chief Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Government recalled his more than 35 years association with Dr SS.Badrinath. He recalled Sankara Nethralaya which he had seen as a  small set up at the time of its inception, adding that it looks like a sprawling university today, he attributed this stupendous growth to the enthusiasm and dedication of Dr SS.Badrinath and Dr. Vasanthi Badinath, remarking in lighter vein that given his agility and energy he would estimate Dr SS.Badrinath to be around 40 years of age, the former Chief Secretary recalled that he remembered the noble couple constantly running for the cause eye care without any rest, from the time he knew them and expressed his amazement that they have not slackened their speed to this day. The former Chief Secretary underlined that 6% of the State’s total population of 50 crores; amounting to a  staggering 42 lakhs are visually impaired and it is only through such relief camps conducted in the rural areas that this problem can be solved. Delivering the Chief Guest’s address Shri K.Veera Raghava Rao, IAS, Collector of Tiruvallur  observed that he considered it a honour to be a part o f such a noble initiative and share the dais along with stalwarts like Shri T.V Antony, whose illustrious career in Civil Service  began even before he was born and Dr. SS.Badrinath whose selfless service to society began when he was a small boy, as the district collector he thanked the organizers for the great initiative being carried out in his district. He recalled the outdoor eye screening camps of Sankara Nethralaya in the earlier days when patients found needing treatment would be taken to the Sankara Nethralaya main hospital and treated and dropped back and complimented the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit as an innovative initiative which has simplified the entire process. He thanked the members of the Rotary, Lions Clubs and Society for Prevention of Blindness, students of the GRT College and the House of GRT for striving hard to make the function a grand success. The chief guest closed his talk with the observation that there was no retirement for service minded people like Dr SS.Badrinath and Shri T.V Antony which is richly illustrated by the fact that they were enthusiastically participating in the day’s event.