As of April, the network has gone off to a flying start. Kicking off the network's expansion is the Washim Dekhon Centre, which opened its doors March 23rd. On April 9th, surgical procedures (cataract surgeries) began at the hospital.
One of the top eye donors over the past few years, Washim is an ideal place to start - judging by the city's general awareness about eye issues and its enthusiasm. In the areas surrounding however, the scene is quite different. Dekhon has established its DC here first before setting up Vision Centres around Washim to help spread awareness and reach out to people. Situated in a rented space of over 5000 square feet, the first hospital has been operational since March 2012, and thousands of patients have walked through its doors.
Washim District spans almost 5,000 sq km of land and is located about 150 km east of SGN. Its population as a whole was 1,196,714 when the 2011 census was conducted, of which around 200,000 lived in the city proper. The average literacy rate in the District is 81%, an increase from 2001 and much higher than the national average. It is a new district, recently separated from Akola district to the north in 2001 - and the enthusiasm of the new political figures is palpable in their adoption of new civic policies.
This Centre is 19 bedded, consists of an operation theatre, a pharmacy, an outpatient department capable of seeing up to 50 patients a day, and will have a rotating doctor from SGN stationed at a provided residence attached to the hospital in case of emergency.