Dr. K. S. Sanjivi, whom many consider as “the father of the primary health care movement in India” was a doyen of the medical profession, a renowned physician and respected teacher – was a visionary who took up the challenge of improving the health care of the underprivileged by conceptualising, starting, and nurturing the Voluntary Health Services (VHS). Dr Sanjivi brought about a major change, by visualising preventive, promotive, rehabilitative and curative care as a continuum of care model.
The Voluntary Health Services (VHS) is based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The institution is registered as a non-profit society under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860. The hospital was inaugurated by the first Prime Minister of India – Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, renowned Agricultural Scientist is the President of VHS.
VHS offers affordable medical care services to people belonging to poorer backgrounds and low income groups based on their health care needs rather than their ability to pay. VHS approaches health care from a holistic perspective laying emphasis on disease prevention, health promotion, fostering and serving the family as a unit, actively promoting community participation and providing affordable care.
VHS also pioneered the model of Mini Health Centers with the aim of providing primary health care services to the poor near their place of residence and promoting community health through trained health workers from within the community.
VHS has been at the forefront of managing comprehensive community health and STI / HIV prevention programs for marginalized population, sexual minorities and deprived groups. Backed by nearly 20 years of wide ranging experiences in implementing HIV / AIDS prevention, care and support programs, building the capacity of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and training health care providers, VHS has built a reputation for understanding and addressing the needs of disadvantaged communities.