Over the years, Aravind has built good will and trust amongst patients coming from bordering districts of Andhra Pradesh. A number of patients from southern part of the state especially Chittoor, Cuddapah, Nellore, Anantapur, and Ongole have been visiting Aravind Eye Hospitals to avail quality eye treatment and the number is increasing year after year. Though these districts border Tamil Nadu, the patients still have to travel about 600kms to reach Madurai. Most of these patients come to Aravind for speciality eye surgeries which are complex and are provided at reasonable charges or at subsidised cost for those who belong to poor socioeconomic groups.
Recognizing the hardships that these patients have to face to access the hospital, Aravind opened a hospital closer to their homes, in Tirupati with the support of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, who allocated the land at a nominal lease. This facility will provide easier access to those already coming and an opportunity to serve eye care needs for the 14 million population of Chittoor, Nellore, kadapa, Anantapur and neighbouring districts. The 2.7 Lakh Sq.ft hospital has the capacity to handle 4 lakh outpatients and perform about 30,000 eye surgeries per year.
The problem of avoidable blindness rapidly escalating remained a major cause of concern in the Indian healthcare scenario. In a developing country like India, the government alone cannot meet the health needs of all owing to a number of challenges like growing population, inadequate infrastructure, low per capita income, aging population, diseases in epidemic proportions and illiteracy.
Realizing this, Dr. Venkataswamy wished to establish an alternate health care model that could supplement the efforts of the government and also be self-supporting. Following his retirement at age 58 in 1976, he established the GOVEL Trust under which Aravind Eye Hospitals were founded.
The hospitals are named after Sri Aurobindo, one of the 20th century’s most revered spiritual leaders. In essence, Sri Aurobindo’s teachings insist on transcendence into a heightened state of consciousness and becoming better instruments for the divine force to work through.
In an eleven bed hospital manned by 4 medical officers, Dr.V saw the potential for what is today, one of the largest facilities in the world for eye care. Over the years, this organisation has evolved into a sophisticated system dedicated to compassionate service for sight.
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