‘. . A day will come, we don’t know when, but will certainly come when we get a new flu virus which has both the properties – transmissibility like H1N1- swine flu and highly fatal like H5N1-bird flu.
And then we are in big trouble. Then that virus could be around the world in a week. Estimates are that at least 200 million will die. Could be more. Economies will shut down. No one will go to work. And the economic loss will be trillion and trillions of dollars.
And that will be a big catastrophe. The race is on to try and stop that from happening. But at the moment we are completely vulnerable.
We have nothing in place to prevent that from happening right now.’
That’s Dr. Richard Feecham, Director, Global Health Group, USA, in his guest lecture to the Aravind staff on December 4th, 2019.
Who would have believed that even as he was predicting the certainty of the pandemic, it had already originated in China.
– a situation will arise that will bring the entire globe to a complete standstill.
– Aravind Eye Hospitals remain closed for more than four weeks, except for emergency cases. This is a first time since inception, it didn’t close down even when Dr. V passed away, since he wouldn’t have wanted that to happen.
– while all hostels and paid accommodations, world over closed down, Aravind MLOPs and some postgraduates in ophthalmology and Fellows continue to remain in the safety nest of Aravind accommodations being taken care of by a dedicated team of catering and housekeeping staff, and are kept occupied productively while maintaining social distancing all the time and everywhere
– even with the lockdown, IT Personnel have been busy developing new products for this changed patient care scenario, besides continuing the routine IT support
– many of the staff will be working online and be as productive, if not more, than the usual hours at work.
Faced with the challenge of this unusual circumstance, Aravind as always has taken it up as an opportunity. A rare opportunity, where for the first time, everything that was pushed aside with patient care as the top priority, can now be attended to.