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. DaleepMukarji 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. Annually about 100,000 outpatients and 4000 in-patients are treated including 1200 deliveries 1000 paediatric cases.

Outreach health services

About 25000 patients are seen annually through mobile clinics conducted at 23 Peripheral Health Centers and Dental, Eye and Cervical Cancer screening camps. The number of diabetic and hypertensive patients visiting the sub centers has been steadily increasing over the 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 or 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. About 3000 patient visits were reported annually at the base hospital for the last 5 years. 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, hypertension, TB and HIV disease.

We also work very closely with Government of India’s ICDS programme. The severely malnourished under-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 regularly done in community nutrition center.

A model Cervical and Oral cancer “Screen, educate, Treat” programme for low resource settings

RUHSA is addressing the Cancers in women with a special focus on Cervical Cancer through an innovative “Educate, Screen and Treat” programme since 2007. Health literacy programs are combined with community outreach with screening by public health nurses, not only to increase the knowledge about these diseases but also to decrease the incidence of cervical cancer in the Vellore (Tamil Nadu) district

Out of 23 outreach centers, 18 have screening facility.Screening is done using low-tech VIA/VILI (Visual Inspection with Acetic acid and Lugol’s Iodine) tests. As part of the mission to prevent morbidity and mortality due to cervical cancer in India, training workshops are being organized at RUHSA and also in some of the selected partner organisations including Padhar Hospital, Padhar, M.P and Mungeli Christian Hospital, Chhattisgarh. In 2015, as part of the Global Innovation Initiative supported by British Council, Oral cancer prevention programme has also been introduced.

The model Cancer prevention programme for low resource settings is supported by strategic cancer prevention partnership with the Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Weill Cornell Medical College (USA), Cancer Council Australia, University of Edinburgh and Global Initiative Against HPV and Cervical Cancer(GIAHC), US and internally supported by Gyne-Oncology, General Surgery and Radiotherapy departments of Christian Medical College.

Referral Services

RUHSA has a 3-tiered referral system, referring complicated cases to tertiary care center at CMC Hospital. For any emergency there is availability of ambulance 24 hrs


Farmers clubs

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. Also the small scale farmers face financial crunch and many are in a vicious debt trap. Towards this a new farmer’s development programme has been initiated since 2010 with the formation of societies/clubs for marginal farmers, developing a revolving fund to provide interest free loans to purchase milch-animals and linking them with National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development for small grant support and training. We are also promoting and training them for organic farming for better land productivity.

Microcredit and Women’s empowerment

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 job oriented courses and employment opportunities. RUHSA community college offers need- based skill development certified vocational training programs in 5 employment sectors, like :-

  1. Automobile four wheeler Mechanism
  2. Automobile two wheeler Mechanism
  3. Air Conditioning & Refrigeration
  4. Wiring and Electric Motor Rewinding
  5. Home appliances repairing
  6. Beautician’s training for girls

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

Raising CommunityResources

Elderly Recreation Center

RUHSA provides day-care centers in 6 villages for the poor and neglected senior citizens. In these centers opportunities to interact with other elders, recreation and a noon meal are provided. Elderly day care centers are proving to be a good model which can be replicated in rural areas.

Mental Health Initiative

RUHSA has identified a great need for providing services to a significant number of mentally challenged 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 should have the capacity to lead independent lives and provides Community Based Rehabilitation. Two Self-Help 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. They are also helped with availing financial assistance provided by the state.

Play center

The ‘Pachaikilli Play Center’ started for the poor rural children is a model for of play way of learning method in rural area. In the play school, the children are learning many activities that help them develop social skills and they also have the opportunity to interact with the senior citizens in the 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. Annual intake is 20 children.

Youth clubs

Recognizing the vulnerability of youth and believing that youth is an effective change agent, RUHSA has formed 6 youth clubs with about 120 members and been meaningfully engaging them with recreational activities, career guidance and health education sessions.


Zero Waste Management Project

RUHSA department promotes environment friendly practices. One of the SHG groups is in charge of waste management system in the 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, garbage are composted and sold as manure for farming.

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. RUHSA is also working on a School toilet project as part of the “Swachh Bharat” Mission


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 and Oral Cancer screening in women, under-5 morbidity and mortality. Some ongoing researches are as follows:-

  1. Multiplexed Antenatal Screening for Infections Using Point-of-Care tests by Health Workers in Partnership with McGill University, Canada.
  2. Cervical and Oral Cancer Prevention Project for Rural India in collaboration with University of Sydney, University of Edinburgh, Weill Medical College, Cornell University, US and Global Initiative Against HPV and Cervical Cancer, US.
  3. Vellore Nutrition project in collaboration with University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
  4. Patient Navigation System and decision making tools for diabetes management supported by FoV, UK, Vellore Rural Community Trust, UK and University of Aberdeen.



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