Vadu Rural Health Program (VRHP) functions with a mission “to Provide evidence-based, sustainable and rational health care solutions for the rural population using globally relevant community-based ethical research” is a division of KEM Hospital Research Centre Pune and has a rich tradition in health care service delivery. In the forefront is also a needs-based, issue-driven research over almost 40 years. Dr. Banoo Coyaji, in early decades of 1970, realized the dearth of good health care facilities in Vadu area during an epidemic of diarrhea. She started delivery of primary health services with a team of few doctors from KEMH Pune in a small then Govt run Primary Health Unit at Vadu. This eventually grew to become a long lasting private public partnership with the government and an internationally renowned research Centre in itself.

The base of VRHP is formed by the Shirdi Sai Baba Rual Hospital (SSH), today a fully private rural hospital that was started as a result of the public private partnership between KEMH Pune as NGO, the State Government and the Central Government in 1986 all investing 30% of the share each to bring up this 30 bed hospital. The Shamdasani Foundation (UK and Hongkong) offered the 30% share of the KEMH to this partnership and due to their faith on Shirdi Sai baba, the hospital was named thus. This partnership that continued up to 1998 had an arrangement where the State Government used to reimburse the deficit of running SSH to the KEMH every year.

As an extension of this partnership, the Zilla Parishad and Maharashtra government assigned responsibility of providing outreach primary health care to 22 villages in this area whereby, VRHP has the technical control over the public health staff working at the sub-centers in this area to effectively provide services and the staff are administratively directly under their respective public health offices whether Zillah Parishad (for Male and Female Multi Purpose Workers) or State Government (for the Malaria workers). This Outreach program continues even today. The SSH is now fully private hospital that runs on revenue generation from service delivery. It provides specialist services including ophthalmology, dentistry, ENT, Gynecology, pediatrics, general surgery and many more.

These health care services at Vadu expanded to community based research by a small seed funding provided by Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation for establishment of Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS Vadu) in 2002. The HDSS Vadu is an active member of INDEPTH (The International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health in Developing Countries).The research portfolio has ever since expanded to include adult health and aging, non-communicable and communicable diseases, indoor air pollution studies and to large scale community based clinical trials in recent years.

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