BRIEF NOTE ON THE PAST ACHIEVEMENTS AND ONGOING AND FUTURE PROJECTS OF SRI SANKARADEVA NETHRALAYA, GUWAHATI, ASSAM

Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya had a very humble beginning and started functioning in a house donated by Mr. Dipankar Chatterjee – an eminent tea planter and with the help of Bank loan & Donation by Corporate Houses, Banking Organizations, Tea Industry, Petroleum Industry and individual donors, etc. The institution was dedicated to the nation by the then Prime Minister of India, Late P. V. Narasimha Rao on 24th November, 1995. Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya is a non-profit making, dynamic and professional organization rendering eye care services with highest moral, ethical and legal standards. We run an eye hospital which provides state-of-the-art eye care facilities, post-graduate training centre for students, post-graduate teaching to medical professionals, community service centers for the poor, community service out-reach centres for providing quality eye care to the rural population. We also extend all possible technical support for developing any non-commercial eye treatment centre.


Throughout the years of its existence the institution has won accolades and recognition from all quarters. The community service wing of Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya was inaugurated by the then Governor of Assam,Mr. L. N. Mishra in March, 1996. His Excellency, the then President of India, K. R. Narayanan also visited the hospital on the 9th November, 1998. Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya was declared as a Post Graduate Training Centre of Ophthalmology under the National Board of Examinations, Government of India in January, 2001. The institution was also declared as a SICS Training Centre under the National Programme for Control of Blindness, Government of India in August, 2003.

 

The Prime Minister of India Dr. S. Manmohan Singh visited the hospital on 23rd November, 2004 and declared the institution as a “Centre of Excellence”. Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya is also the first eye hospital in North-east India to get the ISO Certification for quality in the year 2006.

 

Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya has converted into reality the belief that the most modern and best service is useful only if it is provided at an affordable cost. A team of experienced, qualified and competent medical professionals and paramedics remain vigilant to serve throughout the year. Latest technology and techniques enable the institution to serve with precision and perfection. The hospital building has a total of 85,000 sq. ft area to cater to the needs of the patients.

 

Out Patient Department

Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya has got 5 (five) OPDs and a separate dedicated pediatric OPD. The hospital has all the major and minor OPD procedures for treatment of patients. The hospital plans to open up an OPD for senior citizens in the future.


In Patient Department

Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya (SSN) has adequate facilities including essential instruments and equipments, beds, nursing stations, proper ventilation, toilet facilities, essential furniture, stretcher trolleys, etc. The hospital has a total capacity of 45 beds with ICU facility. SSN has 10 Operation Theatres where all types of eye surgeries are performed.
Cabins are also provided to patients requiring overnight stay at the hospital.

 

Community Outreach:

Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya has a Structured Outreach Programme and under these we frequently conduct eye camps in rural areas where we detect patients requiring surgery and subsequently bring them to our hospital for surgery. The entire cost of treatment (including investigation procedures and surgery with Intra Ocular Lens implant) is borne by our institution.

At present, on an average, 32 per cent of our vision restoring surgeries are done totally free of cost for the patients of economically downtrodden sections of the society. We also do eye transplantations in patients regularly and about 50 per cent of the same is done totally free of cost for the poor patients.

Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya started its free Out Reach community service programme to provide eye care facilities to the poor people living in far flung rural areas of the region. The component of the out-reach
programme consist of screening and identification of patients suffering from eye disease at their doorsteps in the rural areas, picking of the patients and transportation of the patients to base hospital at Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya, Guwahati. In the base hospital the surgery/treatment is extended and on completion of the treatment the patients are dropped to their own villages. The entire cost of treatment including transportation, stay at the community centre of the base hospital and medicines are provided by the hospital free of cost to the patients.

Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya is a non profit organization. The surplus from hospital functioning is allocated for free eye check-up, eye surgeries of poor patients, purchase of medical equipments, construction and building repairs, maintenance of assets, insurance, etc.
The hospital has no organized sources of funds to support its outreach activities and has to depend on its own sources and small donations from the public to sustain its community outreach programmes. The prevalence of blindness is high in Assam and as such a serious thought for an intensive approach to outreach eye screening of community patients is immensely required. Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya seeks the help and co-operation of all in its efforts to reduce blindness amongst the poor and needy people in the region who cannot afford quality eye care services.


The hospital gives free treatment to all the patients who are below the poverty line. The surgeries are also made free of cost. The patients are also referred from various NGOs, organizations, institutes and respectable citizens. In spite of these, the hospital provides free treatment for many other eye diseases to both indoor and outdoor patients.

 

Academic:

The institution maintains its academic calendar. The institute is an acclaimed center for post graduate fellowship programme, DNB course, training centre for SICS, academic seminars, etc. Doctors from all over the country as well as abroad come to the hospital for training and seminars. The fifth batch of post graduate students will soon appear in their final examination. The students completing post graduate courses in ophthalmology have established themselves in the country and abroad. The institution also successfully conducts Govt. of India NPCB programmes (SICS) and other educational programmes. Doctors from the institute participate in various national and international seminars and meetings and present papers on medical topic. The doctors are also
invited in various national and international conferences. Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya also participates in various blindness control and disaster management programmes of NPCB, National Rural Health Mission, etc.
Consultants of the hospital are also taken as examiners in the panel of FRCS examinees.

The consultant doctors of Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya are qualified and trained in hi-tech national and international ophthalmic institutes and have to their credit study and research papers submitted in various
national and international journals. They have also represented the hospital in various national and international meetings and seminars.

 

SSN – ORBIS Project

For better pediatric eye care, Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya has established a dedicated pediatric ophthalmology unit with ORBIS International, USA. Under this project, service will be delivered upto the grassroot level in
collaboration with other non-governmental organization. The aim is for primary screening of school children for eye diseases and development of manpower.

 

COLLABORATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES

Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya aspires to provide a comprehensive eye care service to all. It has collaborated with the following government and non government agencies:
North Eastern Council, Ministry of Home Affairs, GOI
Department of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER)
National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB)
Ministry of Social Justice and Human Empowerment, GOI.
Ramakrishna Mission.
Lions Club International, India.
Rotary International, India.
Bharat Vikaas Parishad, India.
Helpage India.

Various responsibilities have been entrusted to us by the Govt. of India under National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and National Rural Health Mission of the Govt. of India, such as imparting of surgical training to government doctors of the north-eastern and other States, as per its prescribed format. Till date, our institution has trained 29 government doctors in Manual SICS (Small Incision Catract Surgery) and ECCE-IOL Procedures under NPCB programme of the Govt. of India.

We also conduct Outreach Surgery Camps in places like Mokokchung, Dimapur, Mon and Wokha towns in Nagaland, under NPCB, where Cataract Surgeries (with IOL implant) were performed ‘free of cost’ on patients.

Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya has assisted in establishing and developing human resource for a number of eye hospitals at different locations in order to cater to the greater human need and to spread quality eye care services to a wider area. Mention may be made of the Baba Behari Nethralaya, in Sirsa, Haryana; Bawri Nethralaya, in Shillong, Meghalaya; Charitable Dispensary, in Bonda, Assam; Lions Eye Hospital, in Guwahati,
Assam, and P. C. Chatterjee Memorial Eye Hospital, in Dharmanagar, Tripura. Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya also involves community based organizations
in conducting outreach activities. Local NGOs like ASHA, Bharat Bikash Parishad, Praytush, Lions Club, Rotary International, etc., are engaged in various community programmes of the hospital.


EYE BANKING

The Eye Bank of Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya was established in 1997. Besides carrying out a number of corneal transplantations, the eye bank has conducted a number of public awareness programmes. More than 200 numbers of corneal transplantations were conducted till date with a success rate of over 80 per cent.

 

ONGOING AND FUTURE PLANS & PROJECTS

Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya has planned the following activities for the future:

1. The institution plans to make the community outreach service more intensive and include larger number of people of the region within its eye screening programmes for reduction and eradication of blindness.
The support in the form of government grants for formation of a corpus fund for community service, donations from philanthropists, business houses, banks, etc., co-operation from non government agencies working for eradication of blindness, internal sources of funds generated from hospital collections will be the chief sources for financing community services.


2. Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya is constructing another new building which is nearing completion adjacent to its existing premises. The funds for the construction have been allocated to Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya by the 12th Finance Commission. The new building will give additional facilities for geriatric patients and pediatric patients, besides an auditorium, etc.

 

3. The incidence of eye cancer is high in the North-east, particularly the occurrence of Retino Blastoma is very common. Also there is a lack of institutions providing specialized treatment for eye cancer in the region. The hospital plans to open up a specialized centre for treatment and research of ocular oncology.

 

4. The hospital also intends to construct a new building (partly funded by North Eastern Council, Govt. of India) for providing support services of the hospital. The proposed building will provide hostel facilities to students, accommodation to paying and non paying patients, etc.

 

5. The hospital also plans to set up the most modern methods of patient record keeping. SSN plans to install Electronic Medical Recording device because it is ideal and recommended method of record keeping. In this system, record maintaining, reproduction, retrieval and transmission is very smart. It eliminates the need for huge space for storing MRD files and as the system is very prompt, patient waiting period and the probability of misplacement of records is almost nil.

 

6. Sri Sankaradeva plans to open up a centre for paramedical training. Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya is in all an institution focused on excellency, equity, affordability and having a compassionate attitude for the economically under privileged population.

 



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