Dr. Gopala Raju C. V.: Providing Quality Eye Care Service To People At An Affordable Price | CEOInsights Vendor
Dr. Gopala Raju C. V.: Providing Quality Eye Care Service To People At An Affordable Price

Dr. Gopala Raju C. V.: Providing Quality Eye Care Service To People At An Affordable Price

Dr. Gopala Raju C V & Dr. Vasudev P,  Co-Founders

Dr. Gopala Raju C V & Dr. Vasudev P


The rapid evolution in the eye care sector has finally helped put a brake on the cataract blindness that has been ravaging India for so long. However, we still have a long way to go in terms of quality eye care services across the country as compared to the growing population. Today, Visakha is considered one of India's leading exclusive eye care hospitals with state-of-the-art equipment.

In an exclusive interview with CEO Insights, Dr. Gopala Raju shares about his early education, professional journey and some of the major challenges he has faced to make Visakha what it is today and much more:

Tell us about your professional background and experiences. What inspired you to venture into the eye care segment?
After completing my MBBS from Rangaraya Medical College at Kakinada, I did my Post Graduation in Ophthalmology from R P Centre, AIIMS at New Delhi in 1991, where I was fortunate to have crossed paths with Dr. Vasudev. We bonded largely over similar interests and values among other things. We further went on to do our fellowship together at Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai. He specialized in the posterior segment and Retina meanwhile I was drawn toward Cornea and Anterior Segment.

Throughout our training, we were extremely lucky to have mentors who were stalwarts in their fields. This experience was grueling and life-changing and was what prepared us to tackle medical and surgical practice in Indian circumstances. It imbibed a certain level of confidence in us to start our practice, which then was very important for the foundation of Visakha.

We had always known that we wanted to establish a practice that embodied our ideology and values. This idea was completely and fiercely driven by both our parents' dreams to serve and give back to the community that helped us

As new and only doctors in our families, they were our moral compass. So, without any hesitation, we moved forward to establish the Visakha Eye Hospital in 1993. To this date, we are ever grateful to our parents and mentors for guiding us in this direction.

Inspired by the teachings, research, and community works happening at some of our previous workplaces, we have tried to effectuate the same cultural practices at Visakha

Define Visakha Eye Hospital as an organization. How is it different from other eye care hospitals present in the country?
Visakha Eye Hospital is a NABH accredited Superspeciality eye care hospital and is one of the exclusive eye care centers in the country with state-of-the-art equipment. After working for some of the best eye care hospitals we were inspired by the teachings, research works, community care, and so on. After starting Visakha, we have tried to effectuate similar cultural practices built over the moral foundation laid over by our parents. This foundation has largely set us apart from the rest by helping us gain the trust of our patients. Our hospital is a teaching institute for postgraduates and a training center for the National Board of Examinations. Apart from the eye care services, we also do a lot of community work to do our bit to serve the under privileged.

Reflect on some of the major challenges you have experienced in your journey so far. How did you overcome them and what did you learn from them?
In the beginning, one of the major challenges in the first decade was the funding or capital to establish the hospital with all the expensive modern equipment. Due to an economic recession, none of the banks were forthcoming to give us advances. To overcome this challenge, we decided to go step by step and started with a laser machine in a small rented building. Over four to five years, we gradually added the required latest equipment and upscaled sizably by acquiring a place to build our own premises in 1997. Set with all the latest equipment we finally moved here in 1999.
As the hospital started to expand, we needed to set up an administrative team as well as hire more doctors to cater to the expanding patient base. The overall journey of recruiting people as well as gradually expanding the whole operation was also a huge challenge. After the establishment, maintaining the same quality standard with the increasing infrastructure cost while catering to all sections of society has been a huge challenge throughout. To overcome this, we then started the VEH Trust through which we provide free eye treatments and conduct eye camps along with free surgical treatments. We also have a mobile medical unit that conducts medical camps as well as outreach programs in rural tribal areas.

Another major challenge has been upgrading the technology. While the technology is fast changing every two three years, we are struggling to clear the return on investment of the tools that we buy within that time frame. Every upgrade comes with more features at a higher cost, which again puts us in a tough place.

Going forward, what are the goals that you wish to invest in and how do you plan to take them further?
Apart from the main branch which we moved into in 1999, we also have three other branches to help people who live far away from the main branch with eye care services. As all the branches are digitally connected, patient records can be easily accessed at any of the branches. We want each of the branches to run independently.

With an experience of nearly three decades, we are kind of moving into the mentorship stage. We want to pass the baton onto our professionals with the same or even better values for the upkeep of our vision and mission to live up to the trust and service of people.

Dr. Gopala Raju C. V., Founder & CEO, Visakha Eye Hospital
Dr. Gopala is a widely renowned and respected Ophthalmologist as well as the CEO & Founder of Visakha Eye Hospital. He did his MBBS from Rangaraya Medical College, Kakinada, and his Post Graduation in Ophthalmology from AIMS, New Delhi. Dr. Gopal has presented several free papers, and posters and participated in various symposia at the state and national levels.

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