The journey of a Sightsavers India Fellow

Dr Anoop Kumar Singh, December 2021

“Sightsavers takes keen interest in a fellow’s growth”

Dr Anoop Kumar Singh, Sightsavers India Fellow, 2019 – 2021

Sightsavers India Fellow, 2019-2021 gets candid as he completes his fellowship journey. Here’s a tete-a-tete with the ophthalmologist on eye health in rural India, the pandemic and his overall fellowship journey.

1. What was your overall experience of Sightsavers India Fellowship Programme?
My experience was good and satisfactory in terms of exposure and knowledge as I got the opportunity to work with different institutions and different teachers and learned a lot from them.

2. What did you like?
One-on-one teaching and mentorship from teachers and nurturing attitude of sightsavers as parental institution.

3. What are the number of surgeries you could contribute?
I have done over 4,000 sight restoration surgeries during my fellowship.

4. What did you learn other than surgical exposure?
Sightsavers India Fellowship Program doesn’t just hone your clinical skills. There are multiple things a fellow will learn during the fellowship. This includes hospital management and personality building as a professional doctor.

5. What is your experience of working in a rural setting?
Belonging to a lower middle class family, I had closely observed rural healthcare over time and had got opportunities to work in such settings on multiple occasions. I am very much comfortable and confident working in a rural setting.

6. How did you cope during pandemic while doing his fellowship?
When whole nation was in lockdown, our hospital was also closed for general services and OT. There was no surgical cases for a while but it resumed when unlock happened. It was a time of patience and optimism when I tried to stay positive and futuristic.

7. What kind of support you got from Sightsavers? What is the key transition you feel within yourself?
All form of support extending from logistics to personality building to personal coaching. I have never seen any organisation taking so much interest in their fellow’s growth. I came out as a better human being and a better clinician.

8. Do you think the fellowship has helped you towards being an independent consultant, if yes, how?
Yes, absolutely! Many times, we need to handle inter-personal issues with staff and seniors and overcome lots of administrative hurdles in patient care which otherwise will be unattended till the beginning of our individual practices. The fellowship thus has definitely helped me coming out as a better doctor and administrator.

9. Did you find the individual coaching sessions under the fellowship useful?
Absolutely! It worked wonders on helping me decide my goal and working towards achieving it.

10. What would be your message to young ophthalmologists?
Sometimes life is the best teacher than any reputed and named institutes. Such opportunities (Sightsavers India Fellowship Program) should be grabbed at the right moment. Also, we need to keep learning on and off the field and be ready to evolve constantly. Believe in yourself and explore the possibilities. Sightsavers India gives a unique platform to understand self and establish one as an independent clinician while being in the fellowship. And nothing can replace that feeling of freedom to choose how you would like to shape your future.

11. What are your future plans?
I would like to keep learning and evolving and continue my work in the field of surgery and keep changing people’s lives for the better.