KV Kuppam Run
On 17th February 2024, RUHSA department, CMC, Vellore will be hosting its annual ‘KVK Run’ based on the theme ‘Green and Clean Nature – For our Health and Future’ from Vaduganthangal Bus stand to Melmoil, KV Kuppam, Vellore.
The KVK Run aims to bring together individuals from all walks of life to participate in a collective effort towards a healthier and active lifestyle. We believe that promoting physical fitness is key to prevent lifestyle-related illnesses, and the run will serve as a powerful platform to encourage our community to embrace a healthier way of living. This year we are adding one more theme to promote environmental consciousness through the run. We are anticipating over 500 runners of all age groups to participate in this run. Following the excellent response we received in the last year from school children, sports trainers, volunteers, and other well-wishers, we would like to make this year’s run a grand event. We are seeking to raise Rs. 3,00,000 for the event.
Pictures of the KV Kuppam run from March 2023 that raised awareness on Non-Communicable Diseases in the community
RUHSA’s Elderly Centres Transform Lives
In the quiet villages of K.V. Kuppam block, where tradition weaves the fabric of life, the responsibility towards the elderly is deeply embedded in the collective conscience of society. Yet, as time progresses, traditional values erode, and institutions adapt, the ties that once bound generations together weaken. The elderly, our living repositories of wisdom and experience, find themselves grappling with neglect, powerlessness, loneliness, and a growing sense of isolation. In this poignant backdrop, Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs (RUHSA) addresses the myriad challenges faced by the elderly in rural areas. RUHSA has pioneered models aimed at fostering positive aging, providing comprehensive care to the vulnerable elderly through its day care centres. Six elderly day care centres, scattered across different villages, stand as oases of joy for 110 elderly members. Here, each day begins with invigorating walks, group exercises, and moments of devotion, fostering a sense of community and purpose. The few succeeding hours at these centres are filled with traditional games, discussions, colouring sessions, singing and active participation in maintaining a clean environment besides helping with cooking activities.
Ellemma Ruth is a 72 years old widowed woman living in Kavanur village. She lives in an old poorly constructed rented house. Ellemma was the fourth child in her family but lost her mother when she was only 5 years old. Her father abandoned the children and left. With no one to support her, she was married off as a child to a 52 year old man when she was just 9 years of age.
Her aged husband died and she became a widow at a young age. She worked with a family in RUHSA who supported Ellemma and she raised her children with lots of difficulties. As her children married, she was gradually ignored and neglected. In her old age, she stays alone and has to fend for her needs as her children do not support her. She joined the RUHSA’s community elderly daycare centre in 2014 and is an active member of the center.
She feels happy as she is engaged in activities like exercise sessions at the centre, conducting devotions, assisting in cooking, engaging students and visitors though cultural activities, telling stories and explaining the activities of centre. “Her past and present life is life changing experience for the students and visitors” says many visitors. She also volunteered for stitching masks and clothe bags for dry ration distribution for elders during COVID times. Since her support through the elderly centre, she doesn’t feel lonely or helpless and is always excited about being part of change happening at the elderly centre through RUHSA, CMC.
The centres go beyond the basics, ensuring a nutritious mid-day meal including pulses and green vegetables five times a week, occasionally supplemented by eggs, chicken, iron, and multivitamins. For undernourished elders, a specially crafted multigrain nutrition mix is provided. Regular geriatric screenings and medical check-ups become a staple, addressing health needs from primary to tertiary care levels, without any cost to the elderly. In the pursuit of holistic well-being, RUHSA has introduced occupational and physiotherapy programs to enhance mobility and prevent falls. Elders are embraced by education and counselling sessions, led by chaplains and social workers, promoting coping mechanisms and holistic healing.
The heartbeat of these centres lies in the engagement facilitated by caregivers and elderly volunteers. Students, visitors, and cultural activities create a vibrant atmosphere, breathing life into the elderly years. The intergenerational interaction is not just a social exchange; it is a lifeline that uplifts their quality of life. Special days become celebrations at RUHSA’s elderly centres, be it World Elderly Day, Christmas, Pongal, Diwali, or the annual picnic. These moments of joy resonate deeply, infusing the lives of the elderly with warmth and a sense of belonging.
However, the journey is far from over. The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the challenges, emphasizing the critical need for timely, affordable, and accessible healthcare services. RUHSA’s commitment to the elderly remains unwavering, but they need your support. Your donations will not only sustain these vital centres but also ensure that our elders continue to age with dignity, surrounded by the love and care they deserve.
Join us in preserving the legacy of wisdom and resilience. Together, let’s create a haven where the elderly can bask in the twilight of their lives, embraced by a community that recognizes and cherishes their invaluable contributions. Donate to RUHSA’s Elderly centres and be a part of a transformation that goes beyond generations – a testament to the enduring spirit of compassion and shared humanity.
RUHSA stands for ’Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs’. In the 1970s, 80% of India’s population lived in the villages (today, it’s around 65%), but 80% of her doctors were in the towns. CMC had a growing feeling that pure healthcare in hospitals was not touching the root issues faced by farmers and landless labourers. Many factors (such as sanitation and nutrition) that had most impact on the health of the community were outside the control of the health services. After treatment, a “person goes back to his community and environment and more often than not gets ill again” (quoted from ‘Introduction to RUHSA – The Programme Proposals‘).
RUHSA – Treatment and Training
RUHSA provides both treatment and education as one of CMC Vellore’s community hospitals. The Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs provides holistic care. It combines medical treatment with development through education for the 120,000+ people in the communities of K.V. Kuppam. The hospital is 25km west-north-west of Vellore, see the map below.
Community based Medical Treatment
RUHSA works with the communities of K.V. Kuppam to improve their health. RUHSA’s health care system aims to take care of everyone in the community. They look after people from “womb to tomb”.
Nurses and doctors work in the 23 Sub-Centres and Mobile Community Clinics. Here they provide medical treatment at the primary level care. While the local Family Care Volunteers and Health Aides support the care given to vulnerable groups. These vulnerable groups include women, children, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.
RUHSA focuses on the most vulnerable. A part of this is the Community Nutrition programme, focusing on children under the age of 5 years. For example, the Pachaikilli Play Center is a space where children learn through play. Here, they interact with grandparents who are in RUHSA’s Elderly Care Centres.
Outpatients and Inpatient Medical Treatment
Another part of RUHSA’s holistic care is the secondary level care it provides. Secondary level care includes hospital-based outpatients and inpatient beds along with specialist treatment. RUHSA has 70 beds in the RUHSA base Hospital. The hospital can provide both free and subsidised care. You can help the hospital provide this subsidised care to those who need it by donating to CMC Vellore.
RUHSA also has specialty clinics with doctors visiting from CMC’s main hospital. When needed, the doctors can refer patients to the CMC Main Town Campus. Here, CMC can give more specialist care or higher levels of “tertiary” care.
RUHSA looks after people with chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, kidney diseases etc. All these people are closely monitored to make sure no new problems occur. RUHSA treats Patients with HIV with the medicines they need. But they also give counselling to help them cope with their problems.
Economic Development and Training
RUSHA provides holistic care and also helps the economic development of the area. They help this rural area in several ways. There are women’s Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and farmers’ clubs. The women’s SHGs give them access to low-interest loans. For example, this may help them start a small business. Education is provided through the Community College. Here, the college offers unemployed youth a chance at vocational training and skill development.
RUHSA Shares its Experiences
RUHSA shares its experience in providing both treatment and training, through various CMC Vellore educational programmes. These include the BSc Medical Sociology and PG Diploma courses in health management and administration. There also run various short term courses. For example, RUHSA teaches Primary Health Workers, health workers, development workers and medical professionals.
In the news
CMC’s RUHSA Department hit the news when they reached the final round of the HCL Foundation Grant 2020 – ’21, which attracted 9,395 applicants. RUHSA’s project, on strengthening communities for the prevention of non-communicable diseases, was judged one of the top three entrants and awarded ₹25 lakhs.