A 100-year old organisation that provides quality eye care to the poor

Not very often does one hear of organizations that have successfully been around for 100 years, so when I learnt I was visiting a 100-year old nonprofit organization, you can image how intrigued I was. Set up in 1914 in Daryaganj, which is now the heart of Purani Dilli, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, has been providing eye care aid and support to both privileged and underprivileged individuals for the past century. As I learnt from their Head of Donor Relations, Kiran Mehta, the hospital provides at least 50% of its services free of charge to those who cannot afford to pay for the same.

Services range from cataract to cornea surgeries, retina and Glaucoma treatment, lasik treatments and more, covering the entire spectrum of eye care. The hospital also runs a Government-recognised Eye Bank. As I went room to room, being introduced to the different departments, I noticed people from different backgrounds on their campus. Infact their list of patients includes famous names like Dr. Abdul P J Kalam too. You’ll even find a letter from Mahatma Gandhi himself, which the hospital has framed and displayed on one of its walls. Clear proof that the hospital was one of the best in its class back in the day too.

A note by Mahatma Gandhi about Dr. Shroff's Charity Eye Hospital
“It was a pleasure to me to go through Dr. Shroff’s Eye Hospital. The neatness of all the appointments was striking and the patients seemed to me to be happy.” – Mahatma Gandhi

The hospital is the only Eye & ENT Institute in the whole of North India that has NABH Accreditation. NABH is the abbreviation for National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers. It is a constituent board of the Quality Council of India and was set up to establish and operate an accreditation programme for healthcare organisations. It caters to the needs of consumers and sets benchmarks for progress for the health industry. Its functioning and efforts are supported by all stakeholders including the industry, consumers and the government. With NABH-accreditation, you can be assured of a hospital’s quality and safety standards.

It is the organisation’s mandate to provide 50% free surgeries to the underprivileged. And the hospital takes necessary steps to meet this goal. In 1996, with donations and support getting increasingly hard to get by, the board took an exception to the heavy deficits the hospital was running into and adopted the ‘cross subsidy model’. To provide for operational needs and underwrite the free provisions made to the underprivileged, the hospital decided to enter the arena of commercial services. All payment from commercial treatment is pumped right back to meet the needs of those who cannot pay for services. This model helped them perform 8,000+ surgeries at free/highly subsidized rates in the financial year 2012-13 alone.

Dr. Shroff Charity Eye Hospital Delhi Rajendra Prasad
“Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital is doing an essential service to a class of people who need it.”- Dr. Rajendra Prasad after his visit to the hospital

Also important to note is that the doctors, pharmacists, treatments, and operation theatre remain the same for all the patients. Hence, the price a patient pays does not affect the quality of the treatment s/he receives at the hospital.
The foremost goal of SCEH is “to be the best tertiary Eye and ENT care Institution in Northern India providing quality care to people across all economic sections of the society.” The organization is rapidly moving towards this goal with strategic planning, hard work and passion to serve the underprivileged. No wonder then that organizations like Orbis, Standard Chartered (through its “Seeing is Believing” initiative) and IAPB are amongst its supporters. From a single person handling all patient needs, to 300 staff members working out of a full-fledged hospital, Dr. Shroff’s has come a long way!

With 20% of the world’s poor living in India, you can just imagine how important a role this organization plays!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.