Lock down activities at Aravind-Madurai

“In spite of all modern scientific devices and technologies, the core of the human mind, the inner consciousness, has not developed to meet everything that challenges us” – Dr.V

We are existing in a transfigured world which is waging a battle against one health monster in unison making us one family. Life has just taken a twist and time has trundled back, paces have decelerated and people have toned-down. We are grateful to all who are directly working on this virus and are motivated to do what we can to help right now, much in alignment with the vision of our organisation. The ramification of the disseminating fiery flames of the disease is slowly taking a toll on the lives of every human being be it rich or poor in its own distinct arrays.Minimalism and life style changes  left  people grounded and transformed them from  being acquisitive to generous.

But  as we looked look around at all the marginalised groups toiling for a modest single meal we  felt, as an organisation we are fortunate  than most in the world.

-Madurai Team

With very little eye care service to offer, lockdown meant weaning eighth-tenth of the work force across the system. Organisation never tried to condescend, rather owned the suffering and quickly lent a hand by first helping the people within. It was decided not to lay off a single staff during this period unless an uncharacteristic situation warranted.With very little familiarity about the disease, the circumstances were scrupulously evaluated,understood and strategies, protocols were laid down in readiness for the critical days ahead to handle emergencies. All of these guidelines were put in place with the concurrence of the senior leadership of the tertiary and secondary hospitals across the system. Innovations were readily accepted, incubated and executed uniformly across the system. Protocols and guidelines in alignment with the government stipulations were modified and versions popped up as the disease progressed. Senior faculty also played an important role in laying national guidelines for various subspecialties in ophthalmology.Senior leadership team took a back seat and abided by the advocacy placed by the task force committees across the system.

Restructuring the work flow, putting systems in place was a hard-hitting task gracefully engulfed by the managers who laboured and executed it to near perfection right from the introduction.The System engaged every employee in the form of sharing responsibility, cross training and multitasking became a new approach to tackle the current scenario.Camp organisers became front office workforce to receive and ensure practise of patient safety protocols.The security staff ensured safe environment with extreme vigilance and courtesy Transport dept ensured that drivers on shifts were engaged in transporting employees which was highly appreciated since it was the need of the hour. Reorganising the physical infrastructure was done with ease and simplicity keeping in mind the protection of staff and patients.

Post graduates fellows and medical officers were taking responsibilities on a shift basis.This also brought in a level of security and comfort, for they could spend the rest of the precious days with their dear ones. Knowing well about the risks involved and their proximity with patients not a single physician shunned the responsibility.They led their roles with poise and treated every single patient who walked in with an emergency be it free or paying patient. The doctors engaged in teaching and participated in webinars widening their knowledge base.

Housing  MLOPS, make them follow social distancing,nutritious food,ensuring all safety gears  in  their work environment and also making certain that they are  in the best of  spirits in this trying times seemed a humongous responsibility. Surprisingly,the  passionate newly sprouted leaders ,took charge impulsively with pride. With clarity in roles and respect for each other, the different cadres  started performing tasks drawing boundaries and coordinating amongst themselves .What was soothing in a gloomy environment was how everyone around acknowledged and celebrated the beauty in others strength and resolve. In fact, there was an element of envy when one out powered the other in reaching out to people.

We were not exempt from glitches in this enviable period.We had to encounter health issues among the MLOPs. We had to decongest the hostel and provide adequate spacing which meant constant shuffling .Chicken pox vaccination had to be provided for 600 staff across AECS, procuring which was a colossal task. In addition, providing the protective gears and decontaminating them had to be meticulously planned and stringently followed. Keeping the family informed about the wellbeing of the inmates was ensured all through the lockdown. The young girls revisited their interests like tailoring, yoga, carom, and chess.With the resource crunches and economics in mind, the girls floundered out creativity in simple ways thoroughly relishing the luxury of time.The MLOPs were provided with a schedule which included work, physical activity, self-development and entertainment.Training for the MLOP trainees continued with supervision and assessment was conducted for the skills from time to time priming them to be empowered after their final assessment.

“It would be ideal if discipline could be maintained with love and kindness, but when some people have complete freedom to act they degenerate very quickly. They still need some amount of external force to maintain discipline” – Dr.V

Housekeeping staff, with the minimal resources kept complying with the cleaning protocols consistently and keeping the place serene. Cleaners, housed in the hospital worked relentlessly through the hours despite the fact, they were fighting a harder battle. Stores and Instruments division along with Aurolab and took up the responsibility of exploring and putting together all the consumables and protective gears and distributing it across the AECS .Civil and maintenance department dived in to ensure no setbacks would be encountered during this critical time.

“Work must become sadhana (a practice of self – evolution). It is not about buildings, equipment, money or material things, but a matter of consciousness” – Dr.V

Dindigul secondary centre with a highly motivated team stood tall and fought bravely to tackle ocular emergencies despite the high incidence of the disease in that area.  Melur and Tirumanagalam  and city centre functioned with minimal staff to serve the need of the population in that locale.

Vision centre team handed over the protective gears to the staff in person and ensured education of the same and kept a close watch on the pattern of the patients accessing care. Equal care was assured to patients at VCs in terms of social distancing and patient safety protocols. People with ocular emergencies were accessing vision centres which facilitated treatment through tele consultations or referrals .They followed the scheduling and touched a 50% capacity effortlessly in the first week which reduced costs for the patients which served the very purpose of a VC .

LAICO played a pivotal role in the conduct of webinars seminars  on pertinent topics.The faculty engaged in cleaning up systems relevant to the current times and spreading the revised versions across AECS in consultation with the senior staff members.The coordinators engaged in tweaking certain skills of MLOPs for ease of use of computers.

“We can serve humanity in our normal professional lives by being more generous and less selfish in what we do” – Dr.V

“Being of service to God and humanity means going well beyond the sophistication of the best technology, to the humble demonstration of courtesy and compassion to each patient” – Dr.V

HR department jumped in and went full scale to percolate the pillars of Aravind..All the staff were kept abreast of the essential knowledge the disease, precautions and preventive measures to be adhered to.

Information Technology is very powerful and if deployed rightly, would play a major role for the betterment of our society.

There could be no better time than now to use the technology to its fullest in a very patient friendly manner. Scheduling system has been put in place which indirectly has brought in clarity on better resource utilisation. Unnecessary crowding and anxiety about long waiting hours have come down dramatically increasing the patient satisfaction to a large extent. This system on a trial during this lean period paves way to extrapolate later in the days to come with less constraint.

Members of Research foundation engaged themselves in the lab activities and writing explored possibilities of supporting the laboratory services. There were constant updation about COVID-19 by the senior members.  Aurolab identified the hospital as a practise ground as they pitched in to supply essentials to all its customers. The users gave inputs which allowed them to fine tune and deliver the products.

“You see, when people need help, you can’t simply run away, You say, I will help you, and then you do what you can” – Dr.V

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