How this Delhi-based hospital is serving the marginalized by offering free eye care services
According to World Health Organization (WHO), the doctor to patient ratio in India is 1:1456 against the recommended 1:1000.
However, when you look at a particular area of medicine, for example, eye care, the disparity widens further. In urban areas, the eye doctor to patient ratio is 1:25,000, but in rural India it is around 1:250,000 – one of the main reasons for this is lack of access to care eyes in rural areas.
Based in Delhi Dr. Shroff Charity Eye Hospital (SCEH) aims to bridge this gap by bringing eye care closer to people.
Dr. Shroff Charity Eye Hospital, Delhi
Established in 1922, SCEH is one of the oldest and largest eye care institutes in India and in the world. In addition to providing comprehensive eye carethe institute is known for its community-led work, essential research and publications, and the education and training needed for the healthcare fellowship.
With its experienced and trained physicians, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital offers advanced and comprehensive eye care services to patients residing in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.
Crop subsidy model
The non-profit organization works on a crop subsidy model – approximately 50% of SCEH’s surgical work is heavily subsidized for patients.
Dr Umang MathurExecutive Director, SCEH, tells SocialStory, “Initially, we were an entirely charitable hospital. But, between the 1960s and 1990s, we faced a lack of funds and resources. In the late 1990s, we revised the crop subsidy model. »
In fact, the model allows patients to pay for the procedure if they can afford it. According to Dr. Umang, the hospital receives an equal number of people in both categories.
While the quality of service remains the same for both groups of patients, private patients benefit from an appointment system to choose their doctors. On the other hand, patients opting for the grant model are treated on a first-come, first-served basis.
SCEH uses patient fees to pay salaries and to maintain and run the hospital. In addition, it obtains external financing for its capital expenditures and other projects.
How it works
For SCEH, Delhi remains the main area of operation as all of its key hospitals are present in the nation’s capital.
“During the 2000s, we realized that the main need was outside the city. So we have opened six surgical centers outside Delhi and have doctors and paramedics,” says Dr Umang.
SCEH also operates a chain of 53 primary care centers or vision centers in rural areas run by young technicians.
It provides a free paramedic eye care training course for women and girls from modest backgrounds residing near surgical centers. These women, who have passed class 12, are offered a two-year course, including on-the-job training. They also receive stipends to encourage other women and girls to undergo training at the hospital.
From inside the hospital
SCEH also trains in various sectors, in particular Surgical Assistant Courses, Nursing Assistants, Vision Technicians, Front Office and Registrationetc Upon completion of the course, they are placed in vision centers and perform basic eye exams.
Over the past six years, the nonprofit organization claimed to have trained 600 women and girls.
“We have a referral system, where once these primary care providers identify a cataract or larger cases, they refer them to us, and we pick them up and bring them to the surgical center,” says Dr. Umang.
Each day, each vision center sees approximately 20 patients. Additionally, SCEH is carrying out a door-to-door screening campaign for about 30 lakh people from 3,000 villages.
Vision of the future
Each year, SCEH sees nearly 55 million patients and performs more than 40,000 sight and hearing restoration surgeries. Additionally, he has screened more than two lakh people for cataracts every year and performed 15,000 free cataract surgeries.
In the future, SCEH, with a team of 1000 people, aims to cover more geographies, open more surgical centers and strengthen its eye care academy.