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Thulasiraj Ravilla

Thulasiraj Ravilla was born in a small village in southern India and received his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta. In 1981, Thulasiraj joined Aravind Eye Care System and spent a year at the University of Michigan studying hospital and health management. Since then he has been part of the leadership team that built Aravind into the world's largest eye care provider. In 1992, he co-founded the Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology. Thulasiraj served five years as the South-East Asia Regional Chair of the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness, and in 2003 founded VISION 2020: The Right to Sight-India, a consortium of voluntary eye care institutions, which he headed until 2008.

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Aravind Eye Care System (AECS)
Non-profit Social Enterprise
Global Health
Areas of Impact
South Asia, Latin America, Africa, South Asia

Aravind Eye Care System (AECS)

Founded in 1976 by Dr G. Venkataswamy with the mission to eliminate needless blindness, Aravind Eye Care System is one of the largest and most productive eye care facilities in the world. In early 2018, it encompassed 12 hospitals, six community eye clinics and 66 (primary eye care) vision centres, a manufacturing centre for ophthalmic products, an international research foundation, and a resource cum training centre that is revolutionizing hundreds of eye care programmes across the developing world.

Aravind created a sustainable service delivery model, currently providing 50% of its services free or significantly subsidized for low-income families. Some of these cost-effective activities and innovations include: producing high-quality, low-cost intraocular lenses and other ophthalmic supplies; extensive use of telemedicine and other technologies to improve rural access; recruiting and training hundreds of young rural women as eye care technicians, thereby providing career opportunities and reducing the cost of eye care; and establishing a network of Vision centres with low-cost telemedicine technology provide primary eye care to rural areas, thereby enhancing access.

Aravind's success in eliminating needless blindness is based on direct action and creating competition. Real competition is encouraged through a proactive capacity-building process that shares lessons learned, detailed procedures, systems, forms and software. The Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology was established in 1992 to help Aravind transfer its expertise and experience to other eye care institutes in India and elsewhere, resulting in the replication of best practices in over 350 eye hospitals worldwide. This consulting and training impacts an estimated additional 750,000 surgeries annually. Aravind Eye Care System's awards include the Champalimaud Award 2007, the Gates Award for Global Health 2008, the Hilton Humanitarian Award 2010, and the designation of WHO Collaborating Centre for Prevention of Blindness.


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