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With Eyes set on a Mission

The day when Dr. Aravind of Aravind Eye Hospital was delivering a talk on innovation, it was a usual one for many. For K. Chandrasekhar, or KC, as he is fondly known, it turned out to be a life-changing day. Facts shared by Dr. Aravind troubled KC deeply. He thought he had seen it all during his highly successful 24-year-long corporate career in technology, but Dr. Aravind’s insights and passion moved him.

The extent to which India was struggling to counter the adverse impact of preventable blindness was extremely disconcerting for KC. He had always harboured a desire to make the world a better place; he had now found a channel. He now knew his mission — eradicating preventable blindness. Forus Health became the vehicle to carry this out.

Innovation knows no boundaries and KC along with his team at Forus have lived and breathed this mantra. Forus has been one of the few Indian companies to have acquired the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approval and can thus supply medical equipment to the US market. This feat can be credited to KC’s ardent belief that technology is a great leveller. He proudly affirms that the quality of the equipment supplied by Forus to an upscale hospital in New York and to a makeshift clinic in a remote village in Odisha is the same. He has led his team to work on tirelessly to achieve this parity.

This journey of uplifting rural Indian healthcare ecosystem, however, hasn’t been easy. In the nine years with Forus, KC has had to do it all i.e. develop the right technology for diverse needs and contexts, hire the team members whose motivations were aligned to his objective, wait and raise investment from partners aligned to the vision, and comply with mandatory and cumbersome requirements of the statutory and regulatory bodies. However, he has risen above these odds. His deep-rooted desire to help people has helped him stay on course. He credits his success to his wife and her unwavering support in the many ebbs and flows of his journey.

“If you have a strong problem to focus on, focus on it. The solution could be a device or a service; continue to understand the problem and that’s what will really help you grow.”

KC, a spiritually-inclined person, finds the deepest satisfaction in the impact that Forus’ equipment has made and how it ensures better, more affordable and accessible eye care to the less privileged. On a mission to democratize health care, KC is quick to credit divine intervention for the success and impact of Forus. He dreams of the day when WHO would report a drop in preventable blindness metrics in India. Until then, this altruistic entrepreneur will continue to march on!

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