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Inaugural Speeches

Dr Gullapalli Rao

Dr Gullapalli N Rao
Chair of the L V Prasad Eye Institute


When Mavis Hyman contacted LVPEI in November 2007 we were thinking of developing the children’s eye care programme in our Bhubaneswar campus. It was a timely coincidence that the MHMT wanted to partner with us.

It turned out that Mavis was born in Kolkata and spent the first twenty-six years of her life there before migrating to the United Kingdom, so she has a special affinity to this part of India.

Today’s inauguration is just the beginning of a long journey. Our vision for the Centre is that in the next five years, every child in Orissa who needs any form of eye care should have access to the highest quality of eye care through the Centre. By the year 2020, no child in the State of Orissa should be needlessly blind or visually impaired. By that I mean that if there is something that can be prevented, we should be able to achieve that; if there is something that can be treated, we should be able to achieve that.

I don’t claim for one moment that we will be able to do it all on our own. We will use this facility as a resource centre that will stimulate partnerships with like-minded organisations across the State in the eye care sector and allied sectors, like nutrition, maternal health, child health, sanitation etc. To build with all these groups working collaboratively we would like to create a system like the one that we began in Andhra Pradesh twenty years ago. We must replicate that kind of experience and influence. We are delighted that this is going to happen.

As we develop the infrastructure of the programme, we must also develop the necessary human resources on a parallel path. And that has happened in the form of Dr Siddharth Kesarwani, who is trained as a Paediatric Ophthalmologist. Siddharth will be heading our effort here in this Children's Eye Care Centre. You can build buildings, you can buy equipment, but if you have the right kind of people leading the effort, everything will come together. So in Dr Siddharth we have a very capable and competent ophthalmologist who I am sure will lead us to great success. Around him will be our team of subspecialists, because children’s eye care is a comprehensive system of multi-disciplinary care. You need an excellent cataract surgeon; you need an excellent corneal transplant surgeon, you need an excellent glaucoma specialist, you need an excellent retina specialist and so on. All of them together build an excellent organisation. Another example of this is the prevalence of eye cancer in children and we have an excellent ophthalmologist here with ocular oncology training, so with all the team together we will provide comprehensive eye care for every aspect of children’s eye care problems.

At L V Prasad, care doesn't just start with medical and surgical treatment. We go one step further wherever we work by helping with the rehabilitation of those people whose sight cannot be restored, either medically or surgically. For them, we provide the necessary rehabilitation training, and that will be an integral part of this Children's Eye Care Centre too. So this will add to the comprehensive approach; prevention, treatment of diseases and rehabilitation of the incurably blind.

Everything we do at LVPEI has three distinct components; service delivery, education and research. Along with service delivery will be education and training programmes for all personnel needed for children's eye care in this part of the country and in the entire developing world, because that what our profile is. LVPEI’s programmes serve ninety per cent of people from India and ten per cent from all over the world. We are involved in research all the way from molecular genetics in the laboratories at cutting-edge level, to looking at better methods of service delivery to the remotest rural areas of our country where people have no access to any form of health care today. So the entire gamut of research from cutting edge laboratory research to social research relating to blindness will be part of this Centre.

So that is what the Miriam Hyman Children's Eye Care Centre is going to be, and we are delighted that, coinciding with the second anniversary of our campus here in Bhubaneswar we are able to create another very significant milestone in the evolution of our Institute today.

On behalf of the Institute I want to thank all of you for joining us on this occasion. I hope that all of you will carry back the message that here is a Centre that is valuable to the children of Orissa, whatever their eye care problem. We can take care of them.

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Other Speeches

  • Dr Taraprasad Das
    Chair of the L V Prasad Prasad Eye Institute, Bhubaneswar (BLVPEI)
    Read more »
  • Dr Siddharth Kesarwani
    Head of the Miriam Hyman Children's Eye Care Centre
    Read more »
  • Esther Hyman
    Representing the Miriam Hyman Memorial Trust
    Read more »