Department of Community Health


The VHS Department of Community Health (Institute of Community Health) comprises 5 Mini Health Centres (MHCs) located along the OMR and ECR. The Mini Health Centres conduct activities such as:

  • Clinical services

  • Community health outreach including daily house visits, medical camps, field clinics, school health visits, community group interactions and nutrition demonstrations.

  • Community health training for medical, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy and other paramedical students as per the University syllabus.

  • Operational research studies on community health issues.

Clinical and community health outreach is done through 10 Mini Health Centres which are located in the southern periphery of Chennai city mostly located on the ECR and OMR arterial roads. The catchment area of the Mini Health Centres covers a population of nearly one lakh for clinical services and approximately half are covered with regular outreach such as daily house visits. The Community Health outreach services are offered under the eight core activities such as Water, Sanitation, Women health, Child health, Nutrition, Communicable diseases, Non-Communicable diseases and Clinical practice. Other activities such as Nutrition Demonstration, Group health Education, Provision of Weaning Mix and School health visit are done on a regular basis.


  • Provide preventive, promotive and curative health care to rural and underserved populatio

  • Conduct training programs for doctors, interns, nurses, paramedics and health workers

  • Offer field exposure placements at mini health centres to medical, nursing and nutrition students

  • Undertake epidemiological, clinical and socio-economic research studies


  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Levels of Intervention

  • Basic clinical care

  • Community outreach

  • Training programs

  • Research studies

Community Health Model

  • VHS currently manages 10 Mini Health Centers offering basic clinical care and outreach services to one lakh beneficiaries living in southern peripheral communities of Chennai.

  • Mini Health Centers networked with central tertiary care hospital providing preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative care covering major specialties and super specialties

  • Mini Health Centres staffed by two trained Multi-Purpose Health Workers, backed by periodic visits by Medical Officer and Public Health Nurse

  • Mini Health Centers serve patients based on clinical needs rather than their ability to pay and work towards health promotion and disease prevention

  • Mini Health Centers improve access to primary health care services for poor and underserved population through trained community based health workers

Field work

The Multipurpose health workers make daily home visit as per the Fixed Tour Programme (FTP) in order to cover the entire population for every two months under each Mini Health Centre. This outreach provides basic clinical care, preventive and promotive services by medical officers along with multipurpose health workers and trainees posted at the Dept of Community Health. Cases that require specialized care are referred to the main hospital at Adyar.


Training is undertaken at the Institute of Community Health at Thuraipakkam and practical postings at various mini health Centres. Trainees include CRRI posting, MD Community Medicine, M.Sc Nursing, B.Sc Nursing, Diploma in Nursing, Post Basic B.Sc Nursing and other streams such as nutrition, pharmacy etc. Non-formal training is based on request from various organisations such as Rotary Clubs, NGOs etc and is tailor made to requirements. For the reporting period a total of 333 students were trained in 84 batches.


Free medical camps are periodically conducted by VHS Mini Health Centres so that health care services reach the poor and underprivileged communities living in slums, resettlement tenements and along canal banks. Medical camps fulfil unmet health care needs of people having poor health seeking behaviours. Free medical camps organized by VHS extend quality medical care services, free medicines and health education to the needy and underserved populations living in peripheral areas surrounding Chennai.


Additional Director, Medical Officer, Public Health Nurse, Staff Nurses and Multi-Purpose Health Workers

Medical Camps Conducted

VHS conducted three free medical camps for the benefit of communities living in and around Neelangarai (20th August 2017), Thuraipakkam (3rd September 2017) and Sithalapakkam (10th September 2017).

Each of the three free medical camps was sponsored by The Oriental Insurance Company Limited (a Government of India Undertaking) under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.


Inauguration of free Medical Camps by
Mr. R. Ravi Kumar, Deputy Manager, The Oriental Insurance Company Limited, Regional Office, Chennai