Social Entrepreneur Profile: Sunil Kumar Mishra

Born in one of the most backwater areas in Orissa, 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 Orissa. 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 Orissa.” 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 Orissa.” 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