CHOITHRAM NETRALAYA, touted as central India’s largest charitable eye hospital that is coming up fast on the sprawling campus of the Choithram Fountain Trust at Sri Ram Talawali, Dhar Road, will prove to be a boon to the people of the region, especially the needy poor.
Managing trustee Ashwini Varma told Hindustan Times that the hospital is modelled on the lines of the now famous Shankar Netralaya, Chennai, a veritable Mecca for the ophthalmologically disordered.
The present facility would have to be upgraded to a state-of-the-art eye hospital to achieve this objective of establishing an institute of international standards.
The Trust already has a smaller eye hospital on the same campus established in 1993, but was never functioning from a proper building as the premises were not built as a hospital. In the master plan it was shown as an administrative complex and the present arrangement was only makeshift.
The lack of waiting area for the patient, two examination rooms for eight ophthalmic surgeons, no private or deluxe wards and no provision for lift were acutely felt. Furthermore, the number of patients has seen a sharp increase from the mere 118 during 1992 to 3,717 in 2006.
The Netralaya, a dream of founder Seth Thakurdas Choithram Pagarani, when functional will fulfill the commitment of the trust established in 1990 as a fountain of charity to the poor.
The basic concept adhered to at the Netralaya would be 50 per cent free treatment and 50 per cent on payment.
The funding has been promised by the parent trust. In order to maintain administrative autonomy, the institute does not accept government funds as they are often accompanied by regulatory constraints.
The hospital is proposed to be completed in five years and apart from the basic function of providing eye care would serve as a centre for developing manpower in the form of trained doctor and paramedical staff and conducting research in ophthalmology.
The concept of eye care would encompass the wider areas of cosmetic ophthalmology, anterior segment, pediatric ophthalmology, posterior segment (hitherto unavailable in central India), patient’s rehabilitation and also an eye bank.
The entire complex will cover a construction area of 90,000 sqft. The total project cost including construction and equipment is 2.2 million dollars. The main and functional part of the project will be completed within a year and rest of the facilities would be added within five years time.
Varma said that super deluxe, deluxe and private wards will have 30 beds and general wards will have 60 beds. There will be provision for two lifts and a ramp. Doctors and visiting doctors rooms along with a dining area for them will be provided for.
The hospital will have full time junior doctors and technicians under a full time director and services from renowned consultants. A 24-hour library with internet facility, and research centre focusing on virology, bacteriology, pathogens, fungus, stem cell generation on amniotic membrane will form other facilities provided in the complex. The other services will include ocular prosthesis services, paediatric ophthalmology, lasik laser and others, he said.