Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs (RUHSA) was started responding to the felt need for providing health care services to a most backward rural development block in Vellore district – K.V.Kuppam block by Christian Medical College, Vellore (CMCH). The history dates back to the year 1944 when the “Rural Medical and Leprosy Unit” was proposed as a model training centre for rural health care at Kavanur Village under the leadership of Dr. R.G Cochrane then Principal of Christian Medical College, taking cue from the model of Sevagram Rural Health Centre, Wardha, Maharashtra. Initially the centre was called Kavanur Rural Health Center and later changed to RUHSA with the introduction of principles of Primary Health Care and socio-economic development of the community in the holistic health care. Dr. Daleep Mukarji was the first director of the RUHSA programme

RUHSA directs several programs to advance the health, education, and socio economic status of the community. From its inception RUHSA has believed that a team of professionals are needed from various sectors like medical, sociology and agriculture for holistic development of a community and only doctors in isolation should not be the only professional serving the rural communities. So RUHSA is involved in training various levels of health care professionals to support the system of health care in India


The K.V Kuppam Block is one of the 20 government administrative blocks that make up the Vellore administrative district in Tamil Nadu and there are 39 panchayats, 89 revenue villages within the block



                                                         Location of K.V.Kuppam                                             Map of K.V.Kuppam Block


The total population of K.V Kuppam block is 128,033. It is a 100% rural area. Majority of the block residents follow Hindu religion and about 3% belongs to other religions including Muslims and Christians. Most of the inhabitants in the block live on agriculture and linked occupations. There is a recent trend among young men in the rural areas to migrate to the nearby urban towns and cities to work as labourers or get into alternate professions. Some of the other occupations are weaving, running poultry farms, dairy industry and “Beedi”(country cigarettes) making. The overall literacy rate is 64% . Male literacy rate is 73.4% and Female literacy rate is 57.4


Base Hospital Services

The 70 bed base hospital and the 23 peripheral service sub-centers continue to provide both secondary and primary level health care services to the people of K.V.Kuppam block and to the residents of other neighboring blocks. Outpatient services include general clinic and special clinics for antenatal, well baby, diabetes, TB, HIV, ENT, ophthal, psychiatry, dental, cancer and orthopedics care. About 4000 in-patients are treated every year that include 1000 deliveries 900 paediatric cases with common illnesses, 1000 surgeries and 1000 Common medical illnesses

Outreach health services

About 35-40000 patients are seen annually through 23 peripheral health centers. The number of diabetic and hypertensive patients visiting the sub centers has been steadily increasing over the past five years

HIV Community based management program

HIV community based programme strategies include community awareness programmes, promotion of early identification of infected individuals at ICTC, individual and family counseling, special nutrition counseling, diagnosis and treatment of OIs, family support, special SHG formation for supporting livelihood, referral to CMC/Government Medical College, Vellore for initiation of Antiretroviral Therapy

Diabetes management program

Once a week diabetic clinic at the base hospital and weekly clinic at peripheral health centers continue to follow-up and treat all the diabetics in the block. In the past 5 years about 3000 patient visits were reported at the base hospital. The diabetes care team at the hospital consists of doctors, nurse educator, laboratory technician, physiotherapist, nutritionist and a footwear technician

Community Nutrition Programme

RUHSA has a very strong programme to improve the nutritional status of children, adolescents, adults, and people with chronic disease for the last 10 years. Nutrition Education is provided to children and adults of all ages to improve their diets and their lives. Diet advice is given with special focus on Antenatal women, children under five, malnourished children and people with diabetes and hypertension

We also work very closely with ICDS .The severely malnourished (PEM GR III) U/5 children in the block are identified with the support of ICDS and the mothers are taught to prepare simple nutritious foods through demonstration. The follow up of all the children is done

A model Cervical cancer “Screen, educate, Treat” programme

RUHSA department is addressing the Cancers in women with a special focus on Cervical Cancer through an innovative “Educate, Screen and Treat” programme. Health literacy programs are combined with community outreach with voluntary screening by public health nurses, not only to increase the knowledge about these diseases but also to decrease the incidence of cervical and breast cancer in the Vellore (Tamil Nadu) district

Out of 23 outreach center 18 have screening facility.Screening is done using VIA (Visual Inspection with Acetic acid). As part of the programme, Cancer Cervix Screening & Management training workshop is organized for Training of local practitioner

The programme is supported by strategic cancer prevention partnership for women in Tamil Nadu, India, linking the Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Weill Cornell Medical College (USA), Cancer Council Australia, and Christian Medical College Vellore, India and internally supported by OG I and Radiotherapy departments

Referral Services

For its referral service RUHSA is connected to the Christian Medical College Hospital which is one of the major tertiary care facilities in Vellore. For any emergency there is availability of ambulance 24 hrs


Farmers club

In the context of the increasing population, the food production of the country has not increased proportionately. The food production has declined over a period of time in K.V.Kuppam block due to the reduction of land fertility, failure of monsoon and the heavy imposition of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. To overcome this, the farmer’s development programme with an aim of rural upliftment generates additional income levels of the small farmers with a scheme of revolving interest free loans. The farmers in the farmers group have been regularly repaying their loan back to their respective groups. All of them are able to make enough money for their comfortable living and do some saving as well. We are also promoting organic farming for better land productivity

Micro finance

One of the major socio-economic development programmes of RUHSA for the empowerment of women in K.V. Kuppam Block is the Self-Help Group (SHG) movement with 421 SHGs in the block. The thrust of the programme is to facilitate savings; internal lending and avail bank loans with subsidy and promote income generation activities among the group members

Community college

RUHSA has been actively involved in training rural youth in vocational training courses and paving the way for young people to find a better Future and thus contribute to rural development and better health. The programme targets poor, school dropouts, and unemployed youth seeking self employment opportunities and youths from orphanages. RUHSA community college offers need- based skill development certified vocational training programs in 5 employment sectors, like :-

  1. Automobile – four wheeler Mechanism, Two wheeler Mechanism
  2. Communication Equipments Repair and maintenance
  3. Air Conditioning & Refrigeration
  4. Electric Motor Rewinding
  5. Home appliances repairing

The courses got accreditation under Tamil Nadu Open University and National Institute of Open School


Elderly Recreation Center

RUHSA provides day-care and recreational centers in the villages for the elderly poor. In these centers opportunities to interact with other elders, recreation and a noon meal are provided. Elderly project is proving to be a good practice model which can be replicated in rural areas.The purpose of this project is to provide holistic care to underprivileged and below poverty line elders in 5 recreational centers of villages in K.V.Kuppam block

Mental Health Initiative

RUHSA has identified a great need for providing services to a significant number of mentally disabled adults and children in K.V Kuppam block who are dependent on their relatives for activities of daily living. Many of them have no jobs or income and they are not trained to work. So RUHSA has initiated a programme with the employment of Occupation Therapist to assess the training needs of the mentally challenged individuals and their care takers, plan training schedules for individuals, make home visits to assess their background

The major aim of this service is to maximize the independence of mentally and physically challenged adult, children and elderly at home and with their working and social lives

CBR for Physically Challenged

RUHSA believes that the physically challenged people have the capacity to lead independent and provides Community Based Rehabilitation. Persons with disabilities need equal opportunity. Two SHG groups have been formed exclusively for differently able people. Emboldened by the group strength and some savings in hand, the group members have started some small business which is an inch towards financial self sustainability. These groups have become a forum of emotion sharing, where they speak about our problems and share our agonies and happiness amongst themselves. The belongingness and fellow feelings has brought them closer to each other. No longer are these people looked down with pity; rather they are example setters for others

The physically and mentally challenged in K.V.Kuppam block who are eligible for various government benefits are helped to avail the same

Community volunteers for sustainable development

RUHSA believes that the catalyst of change should be vested in the community for greater sustainability and greater benefit of the community. RUHSA has good experience in building capacity of community volunteers who are able to facilitate the community in recognizing their needs and enabled them to solve their problems

Community volunteer’s capacity is built and they are empowered and the outcomes are as follows

  • The community volunteer facilitates the community in identifying their problems
  • The community empowered to solve their problems
  • Community volunteers organize new groups
  • The Rural Community Officers are supported in their work
  • Important data is provided by the community volunteers
  • Awareness programs conducted by Community volunteers
  • SHG groups are strengthened

Play center

The Pachaikilli Center of RUHSA department is a model example of play way method in rural area. In the play school the children are learning many activities that help them develop social skills with the other students and they also interact with the elders in center. The curriculum of the preschool is based on the belief that children learn best when given control of their own learning and when encouraged to be active learners as much as possible. There are total 20 students in the center 10 girls and 10 boys

Youth clubs

Recognizing the vulnerability of youth and believing that youth is an effective change agent, RUHSA has formed youth clubs and involves them in recreational activities and also gives them awareness on health and development issues. The aim is to meaningfully engage the youth of K.V.Kuppam block through Health education and recreational activities by forming youth clubs. Expected outcomes are:-

  • Energy of Youth diverted in recreational activities
  • Youth receive career guidance
  • Youth acquire knowledge and information on health and development issues
  • Leadership development among youth
  • Youth recognize the ill effects of alcohol abuse
  • Dropouts and unemployed youth receive guidance


Zero Waste Management Project

RUHSA department promotes environment friendly practices. One of the SHG groups is in charge of waste management system in RUHS campus. They collect all the waste from the campus segregate the waste. All the reusable waste materials that can be reprocessed into new products are segregated. The vegetable waste is given to the cattle and the other materials that are organic in nature, such as plant material, food scraps, and paper products, are used for composting and digestion processes to decompose the organic matter. The resulting organic material is then recycled as manure for agricultural purposes

Organic farming

RUHSA Department is promoting organic farming. It has formed farmers club in which the farmers are provided with training in organic farming in collaboration with NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development)

Water sanitation & hygiene

Water sanitation and hygiene are mainstreamed in all the health and awareness programme of RUHSA department. To promote safe sanitation and drinking water practices various information communication and education tools are used


Significant contributions are made in generating and advancing knowledge through population based research with support from international and national Research Organizations in the area of nutrition in adults and children, HIV Disease, Cervical Cancer screening in women, under-5 morbidity and mortality. Some ongoing researches are as follows:-

  1. International Population Development Fund, AUS & Cancer Council Australia. Building a cancer prevention partnership for women in Tamil Nadu, India. Principal Investigator: Rita Isaac
  2. NIH/ Fogarty International Division supported project to study the impact of intestinal dysfunction on anti-retroviral therapy in India. Principal Investigator: Rita Isaac
  3. ICMR/NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH R21 (INDO-US) supported project to study Intestinal microbiota profiles in HIV patients treated with ART and the outcomes. Principal Investigator: Rita Isaac
  4. Under the UGC-U.K-India Education and Research Initiative, a thematic partnership project titled Vellore-Aberdeen Nutrition Exchange (VANE) Project with University of Aberdeen has started. Principal Investigator: Rita Isaac



BSc. Medical sociology is a 3 years course affiliated to Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R University, Chennai. Medical Sociology is about studying health and illness behavior and the social structure of systems which deliver health care services; includes social constraints on illness, the illness role, medical organizations and professions, and the application of the model to deviant forms of behavior. This course is designed after the recognition of the need for such professionals as part of the team in delivering health care in developed and developing countries

Health care industry has recently recognized the importance of posting medical sociologist in hospitals for better health care and they are appointed as counselors, Medical Sociologist/Social Scientist in Hospitals. The graduates of BSc. Medical Sociology are eligible to apply for masters in Health System Management and Masters in Hospital/Health administration etc

The annual intake of students is 5. The internship is for 6 months


The PG Diploma in Health Management is a one year well designed, carefully planned, practically- oriented training course. The annual intake of students is 4 per year. The course is aimed at developing persons who are interested/involved in managing health and development projects

This course is intended to prepare team leaders for integrated health and development projects, planners in health care industries, effective trainers in Health NGOs, Human Resource development, Rehabilitation, Health and Development Projects and Execution of research projects. The diploma is awarded by the Christian Medical College Vellore Association


RUHSA Department, Christian Medical College, Vellore in partnership with Tata institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has launched a PG diploma course in Health administration to create new generations of administrators and Managers in the health sector to apply management and organizational expertise to the advancement of the health and well-being of people, families and communities in India. The training delivers a wide scope of opportunities to those seeking careers in the dynamic and vital field of health administration

This course is designed for experienced individuals and health care administrators who will benefit from expanded skills and competencies that will enable them to efficiently manage and lead in their individual health organizations and to succeed in their careers

Program Objectives

  1. To orient the professionals about the current health service systems and recent developments in health sector in the country
  2. To enhance capacity to plan and effectively implement health interventions at various level
  3. To develop skills in managing resources such as human, material and financial resources to manage the organizations more efficiently
  4. To enhance skills related to effective communication, networking, advocacy and inter-sectoral coordination

Eligibility Criteria

  • Graduate (Medical, Management & Public Health degree) with 3 years work experience in the health sector and currently working
  • Sponsored candidates with scholarship will be given the first preference followed by sponsored candidates without scholarship

The annual intake of students is 20


PH.D Programme in Social Sciences affiliated to the Thiruvalluvar University offers the opportunity for highly motivated and quantitatively-oriented students to pursue interdisciplinary research in areas Business economics, Management studies, Commerce, Financial Studies, Economics, Education, Geography, Psychology, Sociology and Social work



RUHSA is involved in training various levels of health care professionals to support the system of health care in India. RUHSA has made MoU with State Health Resource Center, State of Chhattisgarh, India to train 1300 Rural Health Assistants currently managing Primary Health Care Centers in Chhattisgarh over five years through 2 weeks workshops to improve their skills on patient care


This training is specifically for the Medical students, Nursing students, Middle level functionaries of Health and Development programmes, Social Workers, Community Development Workers, Health Professionals, Grass root level workers

The purpose of this training is to understand the importance and strategies of integrating Rural Health and Development for the overall development of the community


Placements MSW and MHA (Masters in Health Management) students are offered throughout the year, except for the months of May and December. The duration is for a month. In which the students get an orientation to integrated health and development and they undertake specific studies under the guidance of supervisor in the area of their interest which is also has relevance for RUHSA Department


Elective postings to international students are offered to provide an exposure to model integrated health and development rural health care in India