India’s northeastern gateway to eye health

Written by Admin, published on September 27, 2013 Donate Today

Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital, located in North Bengal, India, is an advanced secondary level eye hospital run by the Lions Club of Siliguri Greater. Operation Eyesight has been a key supporter of the hospital since its founding in 1981.

The mission of Siliguri Hospital is “to bring eye care of international standard within the reach of every individual.”

The hospital started in a modest fashion, offering only basic patient care services. Operation Eyesight team members advised management on technical and managerial issues, and provided funding for improvement in services and upgrades to the hospital.

Dr. Subrata Saha, the current medical superintendent, joined the hospital in 1997 when it was still a small organization catering mostly to the poor. At the time, non-paying and paying patients were seen in separate blocks. Operation Eyesight staff suggested several structural and systemic changes to introduce quality and equity.

As a consequence of these changes, today non-paying patients are seen in the same rooms as paying patients, with treatment remaining the same for both, although non-paying patients wait a little longer than those who pay. Dr. Saha is proud to report that the hospital has improved by leaps and bounds in all areas.

In 2005, Operation Eyesight recommended and provided funding to start the transformation of the hospital into a tertiary eye care centre. Comprehensive eye examinations were made mandatory for all patients; staff were sent for professional training; and the facility as a whole was upgraded. Both the optical shop and pharmacy were expanded at Operation Eyesight’s recommendation – a marketing strategy that has improved sales and contributed significantly to the increasing revenue of the hospital.

“Siliguri is a strong and successful hospital partner that has really embraced Operation Eyesight’s self-sustaining approach,” says Kashinath Bhoosnurmath, our senior director of International Programs. “The doctors have helped thousands of people regain their sight, regardless of their ability to pay. We are proud to work with them!”

This story first appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of our newsletter, SightLines. Read more about Operation Eyesight’s connection with Siliguri here.