Care during COVID-19
Though the COVID-19 pandemic put forth a ‘never-ever-before crisis’, Aravind graciously embraced it and took it up as an opportunity to evolve. Aravind continued its services, catering to only emergency cases in the first few months at the base hospitals. With very little familiarity about the disease, the circumstances were scrupulously evaluated, understood and strategies, protocols were laid down in readiness for the critical days ahead to handle emergencies. All of these guidelines were put in place and were strictly adhered to, towards ensuring the safety of staff as well as patients. Teleconsultation facility was put in place to cater to patients’ eye care needs during lockdown. As the entire world started getting back to normal, Aravind too resumed its operations partially in May 2020. Only elective procedures were performed in the initial phase; gradually moving on to performing all types of surgeries. Scheduling system was introduced later which indirectly has brought in clarity on better resource utilisation. Unnecessary crowding and anxiety about long waiting hours have come down dramatically increasing the patient satisfaction to a large extent. Thanks to the whole-hearted support by the staff, Aravind was able to contribute substantially to the Chief Minister's COVID Relief Fund in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Tirupati.
Learning never stops
For the first time ever, Aravind had to call off its structured training programmes and fellowship courses. After an initial phase of bewilderment, Aravind, going by the new norm of digital learning, started offering CMEs and webinars targeting different cadres of eye care professionals and focusing on clinical as well as eye care management topics.
LAICO continued its offer of specific capacity building inputs to other hospitals by way of virtual classes and webinars, despite lockdown. It organised a series of webinars titled Managing eye care services during COVID-19 pandemic which dealt with pertinent topics in ophthalmology and eye care delivery. Several new capacity building initiatives and projects to improve eye care service delivery were also taken up.
Dr. G. Venkataswamy Eye Research Institute
Going by the concept that research can happen anywhere, any time, scientists at Dr. G. Venkataswamy Eye Research Institute continued to engage in their research activities despite the pandemic and published a total of 18 publications in basic research.
New normal for Aurolab
Even as the pandemic continued to impact the world, Aurolab geared up to equip itself towards ensuring continuous supply of its products in the market. With strict adherence to safety protocols at the workplace and implementing work from home initiatives, Aurolab managed to ensure hassle-free manufacturing operations in place.
Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award and Oration 2020
Aravind honoured Dr David F Chang, a world-renowned cataract surgeon and clinical professor at University of California, San Francisco with the Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award on October 1, 2020. The award recognised his contribution towards teaching, training and improving quality and outcomes of cataract care worldwide. The award ceremony and the subsequent oration by Dr. David Chang were conducted virtually and live-streamed through Aravind’s YouTube channel. Dr Chang delivered the Dr G Venkataswamy Memorial Oration on the topic, Lessons learnt from the world’s greatest team of cataract surgeons.
One of Aravind’s greatest contributions to the field of arts was its efforts to recognise the glory and name of A. Perumal, the artist who played a crucial role in the political and art scenario of the country during independence. On December 11, Aravind conducted a virtual event to remember the great artist and his contributions.
Sanford Greenberg Prize: End Blindness 2020
Aravind Eye Care System was among the select few for the Greenberg Prize: End Blindness 2020. The award was announced in 2012 to recognise the work of the scientific and medical communities who have pioneered breath-taking advances in the fight to end blindness, between then and 2020. Aravind’s Chairman, Dr. R.D. Ravindran was honoured in the Outstanding achievement category in recognition of his profound contribution towards treating and curing blindness.
Dr. M. Srinivasan named in the list of World’s Top 2% Scientists
A Stanford University study published the names of researchers who are in the top 2% in their fields. Aravind is proud to note that Dr.M. Srinivasan, one of its founding members and its senior Cornea Consultant was included in the list in the ‘Ophthalmology’ category. Throughout Dr. Srinivasan’s career, he has conducted several research studies, both clinical and epidemiological including drug trials. He has also conducted several WHO sponsored population based studies. The evidence from these studies has shaped the way cornea diseases are being addressed across the developing world.