Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Living & Loving Legend - Dr S S Badrinath(Founder of Sankara Nethralaya,Medical Research Foundation, Chennai)

               The modest doctor with a great vision
           A Living & Loving Legend - Dr S S Badrinath
               (Founder of Sankara Nethralaya,Medical Research Foundation, Chennai)

Early life: Dr Sengamedu Srinivasa Badrinath was born on February 24, 1940 in Triplicane, a suburb of Chennai. His father, S. V. Srinivasa Rao, an engineer was employed in the Madras Government Service. Badrinath's mother, Lakshmi Devi was the daughter of an advocate from Nerur, Tamil Nadu. He lost both his parents while still in his teens and completed his medical studies from the insurance money obtained following the demise of his father. Beginning his education late at age 7, due to a childhood illness, Dr Badrinath studied at PS High School,Mylapore and Sri Ramakrishna Mission High School, Chennai. He completed his collegiate study at Loyola College between 1955 and 1957.


Medical career: Badrinath graduated from the Madras Medical College, Madras in 1963. He did his internship and a year of internal medicine residency at the Glasslands Hospital, New York, USA. Following the study of Basic Sciences in Ophthalmology at the New York University postgraduate Medical School, he did residency in Ophthalmology at the Brooklyn eye and Ear Infirmary, New York, and a fellowship with the legendary Dr. Charles Schepens, regarded by many in the profession as "the father of modern retinal surgery, at the Retina Service of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada in 1969 and Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology in 1970.


He returned to India in 1970 and from 1970, for a period of six years, Dr. Badrinath worked at the Voluntary Health Services, Chennai as a consultant. He set up his private practice in ophthalmology and vitreoretinal surgery at the H.M.Hospital (1970 to 1972) and Vijaya Hospital, Chennai (1973 to 1978). He has over 60 peer reviewed publications till date.


The Birth of Sankara Nethralaya:

In 1974, Dr. Badrinath had the opportunity to serve his spiritual guru, Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekerendra Saraswathi Swamigal, the 68th Peetathipathi of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam and it was in 1976 when addressing a group of doctors, Hindu spiritual guru, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, the Shankaracharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam spoke of the need to create a hospital with a missionary spirit. Heeding the guru's words, Dr. Sengamedu Srinivasa Badrinath, along with a group of philanthropists founded the Medical & Vision Research Foundations in Madras in 1978 with an object of practicing quality eye care in ophthalmology, training and teaching of Ophthalmology and pursue research in Ophthalmology. Sankara Nethralaya, a charitable not-for-profit eye hospital is a unit of the Medical Research Foundation.

In a solemn function held at the premises of the Vijaya Hospital, Chennai with Semmangudi Srinivasa Aiyer offering the prayer, the project was inaugurated.

About Sankara Nethralaya(SN):

In 35 years, Sankara Nethralaya has grown into a super specialty institution for ophthalmic care and receives patients from all over the country and from abroad.

 Sankara Nethralaya is one of the leading super speciality institutions for ophthalmic care in India. Sankara Nethralaya, meaning “The Temple of the Eye”, was founded in 1978 as a unit of Medical Research Foundation. It is a charitable, not-for-profit institution.


 Located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Sankara Nethralaya has grown tremendously since its commencement— thanks to the unconditional and generous support received from all quarters of society — and has gained international excellence for its quality and affordable eye care services. Its goals include providing quality ophthalmic care at affordable cost to patients, free eye care treatment to indigent patients and teaching and training an army of personnel to combat blindness affecting the population of India.


 Today, the institute has over 75 eye care professionals examining around 1,800 patients and performing around 140 surgeries every day. It offers state-of –the-art facilities and has 32 operation theatres equipped with the latest equipment.


 We have a team of dedicated consultants who strive to ensure quality eye care to patients in all sub specialities of ophthalmology including cornea, glaucoma, neuro ophthalmology, ocular oncology, orbital oculoplasty, paediatric ophthalmology, uveitis and vitreoretinal.


 Sankara Nethralaya is a one-stop referral ophthalmic institution adhering to the strictest norms of quality.

It is also the FIRST eye hospital in Asia to get an ISO quality certification and NABH/ NABL too.


 Community Services  

 In a developing country like India, the rural population still has difficulty in accessing quality eye treatment. 70% of the population lives in rural areas whereas 70% of the ophthalmologists are based in urban and semi-urban areas. At the heart of every endeavour of Sankara Nethralaya is a strong focus and emphasis on COMMUNITY SERVICE, which has been vehemently pursued over the years. The community service initiatives include conducting eye-camps in rural areas, conducting free surgeries to those with an income of less than Rs. 3,500 per month, through the Jaslok Community Ophthalmic Centre — a 75 bedded hospital with five operation theatres — and successfully and relentlessly taking mobile teleophthalmology benefits to the door steps of the poor in rural India.  Sankara Nethralaya also conducts screening camps at schools and holds awareness programmes. The pride and hall mark of Sankara Nethralaya’s community initiative is the cost free eye care service that it extends to the Jawans and army personnel at all levels. Protecting the eyesight of those who are engaged in the protection of the nation is a service we extend with our heads held high with pride and patriotic fervour.


 Sankara Nethralaya is the pioneer in mobile teleophthalmology practice in the country. Teleophthalmology holds great potential in improving the quality, access, and affordability in health care for rural patients. Taking medical services to the doorstep of the underprivileged in rural India, a fully equipped van with all medical and telemedicine facilities visits the rural areas where patients are screened thoroughly by a team of optometrists for various eye disorders, including cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. A glass dispensing unit ensures that those in need of spectacles are provided one at the campsite at a very nominal cost. Based on their diagnosis, the patients are brought to Sankara Nethralaya for further treatment, which is provided free of cost. Our efforts are whole heartedly supported by social service organizations such as the Tulsi Trust, the Lions Club, the Singvi Charitable Trust, the Sai Trust, to name a few.


 We began our teleophthalmology project in 2003 and so far nearly 3 lakh patients have benefited from the rural teleophthalmology camps that Sankara Nethralaya has held in four States in the country.


Quality Initiatives

 Sankara Nethralaya strives for continuous quality improvement and complies with international standards to implement quality systems.  

All patients — both paying and non-paying — receive the same care at our hospitals. The hospital introduced the Total Quality Management policies at its institution. Trained dedicated personnel and ophthalmic nursing assistants provide twenty-four hour nursing care. Our in-patient services are fully supported by a drug counter and canteen facilities for the patients as well as their attendants. The Main Campus has received NABH accreditation & NABL for its Laboratories.


Spreading our wings


Apart from having five branches in Chennai and one in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, we also offer our services at Mukundapur in Kolkata (West Bengal), Tirupathi and Sri City (Andhra Pradesh)

Every year we receive a significant number of patients from across the world. In recent times, Sankara Nethralaya has forged ties with the Sultanate of Oman and Mauritius to offer quality eye care treatment to their citizens.


Mobile Surgical Bus – The next level in outdoor community ophthalmology


As an eye care institution with a strong orientation on reaching out high quality eye care to the poor and needy right at their doorstep, we are proud to say that our outreach programmes have kept pace with the technological advancements in our laboratories and wards and have become more sophisticated in nature and offer a larger coverage of patients and reach out to the most inaccessible regions. We started our outreach programmes 3 decades ago in the form of regular vans that cover the rural and semi-urban areas screening the locals for cataract with those found needing surgery being transported to the base hospital for surgery, this moved to the next stage of mobile tele-ophthalmology units aided by advanced INSAT communication which made it possible to do more advanced eye examinations with the help of a remote operated Fundus camera whose images could be viewed by an ophthalmologist at the base hospital.

We are happy to bring to your notice that we have evolved to the next stage in community outreach service through the Mobile surgical bus or the twin bus a Medico-engineering marvel, a State of the Art, first of its kind in Asia operation theatre on wheels developed in collaboration with IIT-Madras, which facilitates the carrying out of cataract surgeries incorporating recent advances like implanting of Intraocular lens and phaco-emulsification as ambulatory surgery right at the doorstep of the rural and tribal patient, totally cost free. It was most heartening to note during our pilot run and subsequent campaigns of the mobile surgical units in the remote regions of Vellore, Pernambut, Thiruvannamalai and Chunampet that the old, feeble, handicapped and those who did not have the means to make their way to a base hospital due to socio-economic reasons even if cost free surgery was available turned up in good numbers to avail the facility when it was brought to their door step.

Sankara Nethralaya Diabetic Retinopathy Project (SNDRP)

SNDRP was initiated in 2003 to combat rising prevalence of diabetes related-blindness. The six major components of SNDRP were rural diabetic retinopathy screening program, urban epidemiological & molecular genetic study, tele-screening, urban incidence study of DR and rural epidemiological study of prevalence of DR.

 Rural Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Program

An important objective was to create a comprehensive diabetic retinopathy screening model for rural population. Between 2003 and 2006, 458 awareness meetings were conducted to spread the message on diabetes and diabetic retinopathy; over 150,000 people were benefited.

Urban Epidemiological and Molecular Genetic Study

A population based study, designed to elucidate the prevalence of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy in urban Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. Using stratified random sampling, based on socioeconomic status, 5999individuals above the age of 40 years were enrolled. All known and newly diagnosed diabetics underwent comprehensive ophthalmic evaluation including 450 four field digital fundus photographs. Prevalence of DM was 28.2% Prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in population with diabetes mellitus was 18.0%.

Tele diabetic retinopathy screening

Tele diabetic retinopathy screening model was initiated to reach remote rural areas in both Tamilnadu and Karnataka. A mobile van having a customized ophthalmic office with satellite connectivity to the base hospital was used. The fundus images were transmitted real time by satellite connectivity for interpretation and diagnosis and counseling. The procedure was found to be cost-effective; telescreening is an important tool for mass screening of diabetic population in the rural areas.

Urban Incidence Study of Diabetic Retinopathy is an ongoing study initiated in 2008 to to find the 4 year incidence of Diabetic Retinopathy in Urban Cohort. The clinical, genetic and biochemical risk factors for progression of retinopathy will be elucidated.

Rural epidemiological study of prevalence of DR: Based on findings of rising prevalence of DR from our self reported rural population screening program, a rural epidemiological study of DR is initiated in 2008 to find the prevalence of DR in rural areas. The study is conducted through a well equipped mobile van with laboratory and comprehensive eye examination setup.


Education, we believe, is a powerful tool to empower individuals. Sankara Nethralaya is a recognised academic institution, conducting graduate, postgraduate, research, fellowship and continuing medical education programmes. The institution has trained more than 300 Ophthalmologists all over India.


It also publishes books to share scientific practice in eye care.  One-third of all ophthalmology research publications, from India, come from Sankara NethralayaSankara Nethralaya also has collaborations with academic and research institutions around the world.


 While providing quality and affordable eye care service to all sections of society is our area of focus, the back-up for eye care delivery comes from the constant innovative research undertaken by yet another arm of the group – the Vision Research Foundation.


Birth of The Sankara Nethralaya Academy (TSNA):


In January 2010, Sankara Nethralaya decided to scale up the Academic activities through setting up of “The Sankara Nethralaya Academy”. The Sankara Nethralaya Academy would function as a unit of Medical Research Foundation.

The SN Academy is avowed to employ a system of educating people imparting knowledge through instruction courses, training classes, and usher in newer training/teaching methodologies including the use of IT. The objective is to teach courses that deal with A to Z in healthcare services. 


As part of the SN Academy, Certificates and fellowships program’s of various durations would be awarded at the end of successful completion of different courses. Importance to practical training would be of utmost importance definitely necessitating smaller number of students per class and longer duration of courses. Both Distance education program and residential form of education would be imparted.

Recognitions for Dr S S Badrinath:

The Government of India awarded Dr Badrinath Padma Sri in 1983

Recipient of Dr B. C. Roy National Award (1991).

Padma Bhushan in 1999 from The Government of India

He is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

He has been bestowed honorary doctorate degrees by Annamalai and Tamilnadu Dr M.G.R. Medical University, Chennai, in 1995.

Dhanvantri Award, in 1999.

Dadhabhai Naoroji Award (2004)

Rameshwardas Birla Award (2004)

Life Time Achievement Award given by the International Medical Integration Council & Optimal Healthcare Group (India) in 2004,

Qimpro Platinum Standard-Healthcare Award in (2005)

Hall of Fame Award (2005)

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2005)

Felicitation given by St. John Ambulance (24th December 2005)

Award of Excellence (25th December 2005)

Life Time Achievement Award given by ICFAI in 2005

Mahaveer Award (11th January 2006)

Nayanashri Award given by the 25th Madhva Tatvajnana Sammelana in 2006.

ICO Golden Apple Award for the Best Clinical Teacher in Ophthalmology in the APAO region 2006 by APAO - June 2006.

“The Distinguished Citizen Award - 2006” given by Hamsadhwani – a cultural organization on 17.8.2006

Recipient of Dr Subramanian Oration Award presented by Karnataka Ophthalmic Society at its 25th Annual Conference on 11th November 2006 at Hubli

Humanity Award given by the Hindustan Chamber of Commerce – Chennai on 29.11.2006

9th Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati National Eminence Award given by The South Indian Education Society, Mumbai on 9.12.2006

Lakshmipat Singhania – IIM, Lucknow National Leadership Awards 2006 given by the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow from the hands of the Honourable Prime Minister in Delhi on 23.12.2006

IMC Juran Quality Award from Indian Merchants’ Chamber on 13.3.2007 at Mumbai

Received Corporate Citizen Award for the year 2006 by Economic Times of India on 27.10.2007 at Mumbai on behalf of Sankara Nethralaya

Recipient of Sun Life Time Achievement Award given by Bank of Baroda on 20.7.2008 at Mumbai

Recipient of Dr K V Thiruvengadam Award for Health Care for the year 2008-09 in Chennai on 15.10.2008, Medical Excellence Award function by Priya Vison, Chennai

Shri V Krishnamurthy Award for Excellence by Centre for Organization Development (2009)

Received the Life Time Achievement Awards from Madras City Ophthalmological Association on 29.11.2009 and was The Chairman of The Telehealth Society of India

Recipient of CNBC TV - 18 India Business Leader Awards at Durbar Hall, Taj Palace Hotel on 3.12.2009 S P Marg, Diplomatic Enclave, New Delhi

Life Time Achievement Award by FICCI on 20.2.2010, Felicitated by The Rotary Club of Chennai Galaxy in Chennai on 27.6.2010

Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by University of Missouri, USA

Public Service Excellence Award by All India Management Association on 21.2.2011

Lifetime achievement award by M V Hospital for Diabetes on 13.3.2011

Received “Seva Rathna” award from Srirangan Srimad Andavan Ashramam on 10.4.2011

“Life Time Achievement Award by AIOS at Cochin on 2.2.2012

“Sat Paul Mittal National Award 2012” by Nehru Sidhant Kendra Trust at Ludhiana on 17.11.2012

Life Time Achievement Award by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) on 3.12.12 in Chennai

He was the Honorary Ophthalmic Surgeon to the President of India.

He is a consultant in ophthalmology to the Armed Forces of India and a non-official member of the Armed Forces Medical Research committee.

The Lions Club and the Rotarians have also honoured him in many occasions.

Doyen of Madras Award on 29.8.2013.

Dr S S Badrinath has many scientific publications to his credit and works hard even today at the age of 73 for a brighter tomorrow for Sankara Nethralaya and Ophthalmology in India.

Dr S S Badrinath will be honoured Living Legend Award by the President of India on 14.12.2013.

All his staff and doctors are says Dr S S Badrinath is not only Living Legend also Loving Legend to all.


He is the modest doctor with a great vision and morever he is an excellent human being


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