Hospital Manager's Biography
Born in one of the most backwater areas in Odisha, Sunil Kumar Mishra never dreamed or even considered working in the eye health care business. Sunil spent the majority of his youth in this same area, attending school there until he graduated. Luckily at this time, the government of India was sponsoring education and healthcare in some of the poorest areas of India. Because of this, Sunil said that he received a good education there.
Sunil says that he was surprised when he was offered the job to manage the Kalinga Eye Hospital and Research Center (KEHRC). He says, “When I joined this organization I never thought I would be involved in eye care. I had no hospital or property management background.” However, Mr. Sarangadhar Samal (Sarang) offered to train him for this position, something which Sunil says that he is very grateful. In August 2006, Sunil started his training in various hospitals throughout Odisha. After this, he returned to Dhenkanal to help set up the KEHRC.
Now, a fully trained and successful Hospital Manager of the KEHRC, Sunil explains that his primary role involves keeping the hospital sustained. He says that the KEHRC is “two hospitals:” the outreach camps, and the main hospital for the paying patients. However, there exists a problem in sustainability, which Sunil is trying to rectify. He has said, “Without the paying section, we cannot sustain ourselves.” However, there exists the problem that over 92% of the surgeries performed at the KEHRC are on patients from outreach camps in the villages. Furthermore, the paying patients are only coming from one district, the Dhenkanal district. Thus, it is Sunil’s role to find innovative ways to market the hospital to these paying patients. He says, “We want to make this hospital the best eye care hospital in Odisha.” This would mean attracting paying patients from multiple districts. Only with this can the dual role of the hospital survive.
Sunil says that he is most proud that the KEHRC is the “first eye hospital having a Pediatric Ophthalmology unit in Odisha.” Sunil remembers conducting the first pediatric outreach camp, and the numerous children the hospital was able to help. Although there were many hurdles along the way in maintaining the pediatric operation, he believes this addition to the hospital has greatly advanced its services and reputation. He says he looks forward to his continued work at the KEHRC as he, “wants to see this hospital as a center of excellence.” While he admits there is still a long way to go to reach all of his goals, Sunil Kumar Mishra has truly become a social entrepreneur without even knowing it. His endless quest to sustain the KEHRC and the passion he has for his work make him an inspiring person and a great example for Unite for Sight Global Impact Fellows working at the KEHRC.
This profile was written by Alexandra Woodcock, Unite For Sight Global Impact Fellow
Meet the Paramedics
The paramedics are the staff that make the hospital run! They are the crucial support staff that ensure quality patient care and patient satisfaction--the backbone of the hospital. This strong work force is that the excellent paramedic staff are all local women who have been trained and educated in eye care by the hospital. These women take on many different roles from registering patients, measuring visual acuity, pre-operation and post-operation care, to assisting the surgeons in cataract surgery and essentially running the show at the outreach camps. Not only are they critical to the success of the hospital, but they are one of the best parts about being a volunteer Kalinga. Full of joy, laughter, curiosity, and warmth, the wonderful paramedic staff makes one feel like home here.
The following paramedics were kind enough to share their stories.Some stay in the nearby village areas, but most live in the hospital. While here, the paramedics are provided with quality meals at a very nominal cost. Take a few minutes to meet some of the senior paramedics here at Kalinga!
- Sasmita Satapathy
Sasmita is from the rural village of Mabakassipur, Odisha. She has three sisters and one brother. She says she only “sometimes” misses her family. This may be because Sasmita has been working at the KEHRC for four years and is used to being away from home. It may also be because of the wonderful family created by the paramedics. Four years ago, she saw an advertisement for interviewing at the KEHR and applied. She was interviewed and successfully became part of the paramedic staff. She says that she likes working at the hospital and finds joy in everything she does. has learned for working in the OT are the most important skills she has acquired at the KEHRC. Jokingly, she says if she were not working at the KEHRC she would probably be sleeping at home. However, aside from this, she would be a private teacher. Two of her sisters already do this, so she probably would have followed in their footsteps. At this time, she says she has no plans for the future because she likes working at Kalinga too much to consider anything else at the moment.