Kripa AIDS

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Kripa AIDS (Vasai Regional AIDS Control Society)
Kripa Foundation
Vasai Region AIDS Control Society (VRACS) is a Kripa – AIDS initiative commissioned in Vasai, in Thane district of Maharashtra. VRACS attempts to visualize Vasai as a controlled zone for HIV and co–infections. This model attempts to implement various public health projects for the control and care of the HIV epidemic through community empowerment. VRACS sees itself as a nationally replicable model in the private sector with a large community participating base, which supports this integrated Clinico–Community system.


Realizing the paucity of care and support services in this region Kripa Foundation started a Home Based Care on 15th October 2002, funded by Catholic Relief Services. The Home Based Care initiative provided the much needed service but was still inadequate to meet the demands of the population. With an area comprising 302 sq miles and a population of 6,00,000 (census 2004) it was practically impossible to holistically address the situation. The project site was also placed at a distance of 33 miles from Mumbai making the government medical interventions in Mumbai inaccessible to a large proportion of the population.

In order to meet these rising demands, a new project was started for care, support and targeted interventions funded by AVERT Society. This saw the birth of Vasai Region AIDS Control Society on 19th January, 2003, inaugurated by Dr. Jeffery Nadler, Professor of Medicine, University Of South Florida and Mr. Vaidyanathan, Project Director of AVERT Society. VRACS since then has had the technical support of the University of South Florida’s CHART–India (Centre for HIV–AIDS Research and Training in India) programme.

Goal
VRACS attempts to visualize Vasai as a controlled zone for HIV and co–infections. This model attempts to implement various public health projects for the control and care of the HIV epidemic by community empowerment. VRACS sees itself as a nationally replicable model in the private sector with a large community participating base, which supports this integrated Clinico–Community system.

Objectives of the project
Components of VRACS
The VRACS module is a comprehensive clinico–community programme. It is holistic in approach and aimed at addressing the specific needs of People Living with HIV (PLHAs) and their significant others in Vasai. A combination of clinical support provided by a battery of trained physicians, community care through ongoing intervention activities and home based care has enhanced the reputation organization, and today VRACS is second to none in the battle against the pandemic in the country.

The programme module is specifically structured and has proved itself to be a NICE (Networked Initiative for Community Empowerment) model for SMART (Surveillance, Management & Care, Awareness, Research and Training) service.

The Advisory board of VRACS has significant stakeholders from the community such as elected leaders, government officials, educationists, members of commerce and trade, religious leaders, media representatives and student leaders. Recently a PLHA (person living with HIV–AIDS) is inducted as an active board member in deference to the principle of Greater Involvement of People living with HIV–AIDS (GIPA). The board, which was originally an organizational initiative on the part of the project, has truly gained community impetus. The board currently is more focused on developing specific agendas with nominated responsibilities for their effective implementation.

CSNL (Counseling and Surveillance Network of private Laboratories): The Network of Private Laboratories in the region was formulated by the project to create an environment of ethical practices vis–à–vis testing for HIV/AIDS carried out in the private sector. This initiative works on the sense of social responsibility. The initiative has involved the development of a forum and its capacity building. The forum also serves as the data pool for the surveillance module of VRACS.

ELFA (Elected Leaders Forum against AIDS): The establishment of the Elected Leaders Forum on AIDS in Vasai has been a unique initiative of the project and was formed on 14th August 2003. This body comprises of elected leaders of the zone. The aim of the body is to lobby for the cause of health including HIV/AIDS in Vasai.

CIDC: Clinical and Infectious Diseases Centre provides ‘round the clock’ management and monitoring of the clients. Psycho–emotional support for the client and the family is integrated into the care programme. The development of a strong, high quality and linked treatment module that works on the principal of low cost community care and support has been the cornerstone of the project. Treatment of major opportunistic infections along with meticulous and timely management of asymptomatic patient has steadily been portraying the message that HIV is a chronic manageable illness and need not be associated with death when treated right.

Peripheral service delivery through Mobile Van: In order to reach some of the inaccessible areas in the region, a mobile van was commissioned on 2nd May 2004. This van acted as a mobile VCCTC and facilitates awareness activities.

VRACS Activities Partners
Kripa – AIDS, a Kripa Foundation initiative
AVERT Society
Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
University of South Florida, CHART – India
Florida Caribbean AIDS Education and Training Centre (FAETC)

Contact
Ms. Purvi Shah, Project Director, VRACS
Dr. Joseph Chettiar, Medical Consultant, VRACS
Vasai Region AIDS Control Society
Kripa Foundation, Papdy, Vasai (W), Thane – 401 207
Phone: 0250 232 6522/232 4588/232 6069
Fax: 0250 2326521
E–mail: kripafound@sancharnet.in