Grameen Telecom Trust has an investment in Grameen Health Care Services Ltd, for providing affordable eye care services to the impoverished population of Bangladesh. The entity provides quality health facilities through its hospitals. Grameen Eye Hospital Thakurgaon is a social business initiative of Grameen Health Care Services Ltd. (GHS) which started operation in a rented building at East Goalpara in Thakurgaon on 14 March, 2013. Grameen Eye Hospital Thakurgaon launched activities in its own 22 thousand square-feet two-storied hospital building on 28 August 2015. The hospital started with 10 beds. The building has provision to expand eventually to a six-story building with 100 beds.
Grameen Health Care Services Ltd. was established by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, the pioneer of the social business concept. The first Grameen Eye Care Hospital was established on 1 November 2007 in Bogra. The second eye care hospital has been built in Barisal, in southern Bangladesh, in April 2009. A third eye care hospital was established in Thakurgaon. Primary work for establishing 4th eye hospital in Satkhira is under way. Grameen Health Care Services Ltd. has the plan to set up even more chain eye hospital throughout Bangladesh to bring eye care to the doorsteps of the people.
All Grameen Eye Hospitals are using modern technologies. Doctors, nurses and other staff of eye hospitals have been trained at Aravind Eye Care Hospital in India with specialized skill in cataract surgery. Hospital charges patients based on their ability to pay with wealthier clients charged at a higher rate and the poor less, and those with most limited means, receive service at no cost. Everyone receives the same high-quality treatment.
Since start of the operation of the hospital, Grameen Eye Hospitals performed over 40 thousand surgeries and examined over 8.5 lakhs patients. 23%of the patients were financially challenged who received free treatment. Of these, the Grameen Eye Hospital Thakurgaon performed two and a half thousand surgeries and examined 74 thousand patients. Out of total patients nearly 30 thousand financially challenged patients were provided services at free of cost.
Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, the Chairman of Grameen Health Care Services Ltd said that “These hospitals are the unique examples of social business. The main objective of these hospitals is to provide services to the people without incurring losses. Unlike traditional businesses which are driven with the motive of profit-maximization, these hospitals are operating as no-loss business for maximizing benefit to people. Investors here will not claim any dividends, and the profits will be use for expansion of the hospitals and further development of healthcare program.”
Grameen Eye Hospital Thakurgaon is expected to set unique example in eye care services of Bangladesh.