Rob Katz

Dr. V, Founder of Aravind Eye Hospital, Remembered

Venkataswamy HeadshotOver at the Acumen Fund’s blog, Jacqueline Novogratz comments on the recent death of Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy–founder of India’s Aravind Eye Hospital. BOP practitioners and international development experts may be familiar with the hospital, which revolutionized eye care by applying profitable, assembly-line techniques to simple surgeries.

Over 30 years, Aravind has treated over 2.4 million poor Indians–all of whom would likely be blind without the surgery. Most astounding is not the number of millions served; it is the fact that Aravind is a financially-viable healthcare system in one of the poorest nations on Earth. The Wall Street Journal covered his death (PDF) over the weekend; Novogratz links to the story and offers her own thoughts on Dr. V:

For everyone lucky enough to have met Dr. V, he was an extraordinary individual in every way, who did what so many of us dream about–he changed the world… He was able to fuse the power of an unsentimental approach to treating poor people in the most effective way with the moral imagination to see people, really see them, and listen to their needs and dreams. In this way, I think he saw godliness and beauty in all people and all things.