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Eye hospital plans to set up virtual university

By Our Staff Reporter

MADURAI, NOV.18. The Aravind Eye Hospitals here will soon start a virtual university to impart simultaneous education and training in ophthalmology to doctors and students across the country.

The required facilities for the Aravind Virtual University would be set up and a demonstration of the software had already been done, the hospital Director, P. Namperumalsamy, told The Hindu recently.

About four well-equipped studios are to be established here for the purpose and the work is expected to be completed in four months. A software developer, who has experience in the field, is being involved by the hospital and talks are on for getting the system in place at the earliest.

He said the virtual university would be the first of its kind in eye care and useful for all eye institutions. Since the hospital already had an extensive telemedicine network, the virtual university would enable the Aravind Eye Hospitals get a wider reach throughout the country, Dr. Namperumalsamy said.

A subscription base could be developed for the university and training-cum-lectures given from Madurai.

"We are exploring the ways and means of getting a larger coverage," he said, adding that information technology was being put to better use by the hospital. Medical students, ophthalmologists and any one interested could access the virtual university by subscription.

The studio would be the classroom and the educative programmes would be produced daily from Madurai. A timetable of the programmes would be informed well in advance. The whole exercise was aimed at making Madurai to interact with other places. Since the hospital was already working with 170 eye hospitals in the country, the university would be another step forward in eye care, he said. Already its five hospitals at Madurai, Theni, Tirunelveli,Coimbatore and Pondicherry are networked for telemedicine.

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