"Millions and Millions Served" a slogan that conjures up images of Big Macs and fries now stands for something at the opposite end of the spectrum: a hospital. The analogy comes via the Wall Street Journal, whose weekend coverage included a 2-page spread on Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, founder of Indias Aravind Eye Hospital. Worldchangers may already be familiar with the hospital, which revolutionized eye care by applying profitable, assembly-line techniques to simple surgeries the McSurgery approach, according to the ever-witty Journal.
Over 30 years, Aravind has treated over 2.4 million poor Indians all of whom would likely be blind without the surgery. Most astounding is not the number of millions served; it is the fact that Aravind is a financially-viable healthcare system in one of the poorest nations on Earth. One of the hospitals investors is the Acumen Fund, the non-profit venture fund that invests in companies delivering critical goods and services to developing countries. Acumens CEO, Jacqueline Novogratz, is a friend of Dr. Venkataswamy, and posted some of her personal remembrances to the Funds blog over the weekend:
For everyone lucky enough to have met Dr. V, he was an extraordinary individual in every way, who did what so many of us dream about he changed the world... He was able to fuse the power of an unsentimental approach to treating poor people in the most effective way with the moral imagination to see people, really see them, and listen to their needs and dreams. In this way, I think he saw godliness and beauty in all people and all things.
Aravind Eye Hospital and the Acumen Fund are both worldchanging organizations in their own right; working together, they are changing the way health care services are delivered in India and beyond. My thoughts? Hey, Im lovin it.
Chad Weinman of the 2SDay project provides an excellent write-up of the Aravind Eye Care System on his web site. A must-read for anyone interested in learning more about how the system works, its history, and its future prospects. Thanks, Chad!