Center for Innovation in Eye Care
Spotlight - VMANNN, West Bengal, India
Just as Seva service programs reach out to
provide eye care to people in need, Seva's
Global Sight Initiative is focused on helping
eye hospitals improve.
Seva organizes and helps to fund the
effortsof nine "mentor" eye care institutions.
Mentors share their expertise with eye
hospitals seeking to strengthen their services
"At the core of this approach is a mentor
hospital that demonstrates the high volume,
high quality, sustainable services that mentees
strive to achieve," explains Dr. Sandra Dratler,
a Seva Advisor. "The mentor serves as the
'laboratory' — a place where mentees can
see practical daily processes in real-time."
Mentors can easily relate to the issues
facingeye hospitals in their quest to reach
the many people who need services in
Seva's network of mentor institutions has
worked through the various challenges.
They have developed important strategies
for the establishment of high-quality surgical
programs, attract and retain professional
staff willing to work in rural areas, and are
successful at building visibility within
By sharing these strategies, mentee hospitals
learn to rapidly increase the number of
patients served — with a particular focus
on providing care to the poor.
Seva is proud to highlight one such mentor
eye hospital — the Vivekananda Mission
Asram Netra Niramay Niketan (VMANNN)
located in rural West Bengal, India, which
serves an area comprising approximately
10 million people.
VMANNN joined Seva's Global Sight Initiative
as a mentor institution in 2006. The staff
of VMANNN knows the challenges facing
hospitals that want to provide quality services
Center for Innovation in Eye Care
Spotlight — VMANNN, West Bengal, India
to all patients — they have been focused
on self-sustainable comprehensive eye care
delivery in their community for nearly 20 years.
With support from Seva Foundation and other
Global Sight Initiative partners, VMANNN
now provides training and capacity building
services to six other hospitals in Seva's network.
It takes time and consideration to assess
hospitals and build relationships with potential
partners to ensure it is a successful partnership.
VMANNN's Chief Medical Offi cer Dr. Subhra
Sil notes that "we look for partners with good
management, committed doctors, and good
teamwork between clinical and non-clinical."
"VMANNN is like our parent — they look out
for us and want us to grow," explains mentee
partner Ashim Pramanik with Sundarban
Social Development Center (SSDC).
With VMANNN's assistance, SSDC has
increased its number of cataract surgeries
by 23% since it joined Seva's Global Sight
Initiative in 2009.
Mentee hospital staff regularly learn from
watching VMANNN in action.
When Purnima, another VMANNN mentee,
visited for the fi rst time, the staff noted how
important it had been to have the opportunity
to observe VMANNN's outreach camps.
In rural areas, people do not know that eye
care services exist or that services could
restore their sight. VMANNN's rural screening
activities were very effective in building that
critical awareness as a fi rst step to reaching
This was an important lesson for Purnima in
how to attract more patients. The benefi ts of
the partnership are not just one way. "When
you try to analyze someone else's systems you
have to analyze your own," said VMANNN's
director, Dr. Asim Sil. "Let us interact. The
more we interact the more we benefi t."