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India mourns death of Dr SS Badrinath, founder of Chennai’s Sankara Nethralaya eye hospital


India mourns death of Dr SS Badrinath, founder of Chennai’s Sankara Nethralaya eye hospital

Dr SS Badrinath, the founder of Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai, passed away at 83, leaving behind a legacy of accessible and quality eye care for the economically disadvantaged.

Dr SS Badrinath, founder of Sankara Nethralaya (X/@vazhapadi)

India bids farewell to Dr SS Badrinath, whose demise was recently confirmed. Renowned for establishing Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai, he was a beacon of hope in the field of ophthalmology and charitable healthcare. Rama Suganthan, Vice President of the Tamil Nadu Congress, confirmed the passing of Dr Badrinath. He was 83.

Born in a Chennai suburb, Dr Badrinath faced the adversity of losing his parents during his teenage years. Channelling his grief into ambition, he used his parents’ insurance money to pursue a career in medical sciences. His journey in ophthalmology began with internships in New York, paving the way for his future achievements.

In 1978, after his overseas education and research, Dr Badrinath returned to India with a vision. He founded Sankara Nethralaya, a not-for-profit eye hospital, with the objective of offering free eye care to the economically disadvantaged. This initiative marked a significant milestone in Indian healthcare, providing a model for accessible and quality medical treatment.

Sankara Nethralaya stands as a testament to Dr Badrinath’s dedication. Daily, around 1,200 patients receive care, and approximately 100 surgeries are performed, all free of charge. The institution not only heals but educates, offering training programmes for aspiring ophthalmologists.

The impact of Dr Badrinath’s work extended beyond the walls of his hospital. Recognised for his humanitarian efforts, he was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards, among the highest civilian honours in India. His recognition by the Government of India underscores his immense contribution to society and healthcare.

His legacy lives on in the thousands of lives he touched and the medical community he inspired. Dr SS Badrinath’s story is not just one of professional achievement but of resilience, compassion, and a relentless pursuit to serve society.

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