VASAI Shows the Way: Vasai Region AIDS Control Society VRACS
Responds to the call of the Prime Minister of the Nation
Elected Leaders Forum against HIV/ AIDS in Vasai ELFA On the
14th of Aug. The Eve of Indian Independence Under the
leadership of Shree Hitendra Thakur
Member of legislative assembly, Vasai Assembly Constituency
Background: At the end of 2002, the estimated HIV infected
population in India is at 4.58 million; a significant leap
from the 3.97 million in 2001. Of this 61.5% are males.
Pregnant women account for a full 1 percent of the infected
population, a clear indication of the movement of the epidemic
into the general population.
New Delhi, In response to the need for urgent action against
HIV/AIDS the Parliamentary Forum on HIV/AIDS organized the
first-ever National Convention for elected representatives in
New Delhi from 26-27 July. The Convention was inaugurated by
Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and has brought
together over 500 political leaders from across the country,
including ministers, parliamentarians, legislators, and
"This Convention is a historic event," said Dr Piot.
"Never before, in any nation of the world, has there been
such a large and committed gathering of leaders from every
level of decision-making, dedicated to the common cause of
fighting AIDS." Political leadership is a vital
tool in turning back the epidemic. By holding the Convention,
India has become a model for other nations in the region,
The Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee called upon
elected representatives to generate strong political will to
combat HIV/AIDS and carry this message from national and state
levels to district and village levels. The Prime Minister said
that the fight against HIV/AIDS requires greater political
commitment and requires leadership that is ready to go to
heart of the problem and even go against the stream of public
opinion. In his inaugural speech on the occasion here today,
Shri Vajpayee stressed the need for a solid partnership
between all sections of society, including the political
The Background of VRACS: VRACS is a sole private sector
modeled project of collaboration between Kripa Foundation,
India and CHART-INDIA, An Indo American initiative of the
University of South Florida. It is a comprehensive clinico-community
project based on a Model of being a "NICE PROGRAM FOR
SMART SERVICE" (Networked Initiatives by Community
Empowerment Program For Surveillance, & Management of
cases along with, Awareness, Research and Treatment Service).
Vision and Mission Statement: VRACS attempts to visualize
Vasai as a controlled zone for HIV and co-infection. This
model attempts at implementing various public health projects
by networking to care and control this epidemic by community
empowerment. VRACS sees itself to be a nationally replicable
model in the private sector with a large community
participating base, which supports this integrated Clinico-Community
Goals and Objectives
· To create an integrated and comprehensive Clinico-Community
· To maintain this system by community empowerment and
· To diagnose via a properly Counseled and Confidential
· To create a continuous awareness program for clinicians and
community which is run by both the clinicians and the
· To create a Clinical Care Center for treating and caring
for patients with HIV and Infections. This will offer
coordinated care and specialized care if needed.
·To create surveillance systems, which monitors the changing
trends in the epidemic and acts as a national indicator for
· To develop a prevention and care initiative for children
· To include research into every project it undertakes either
on social or on the clinical front.
Why Vasai?: Some of the salient features supporting the need
in Vasai are-
a. Vasai lies in Thane district, which is a declared a high
prevalence zone for HIV in Maharashtra.
b. There is lack of initiatives in this zone to tackle HIV /
c. There is no surveillance of Infectious diseases like HIV
d. There is a lack of knowledge about caring for HIV
e. There is no care and support for women and children with
f. The public is grossly unaware and misinformed.
g. Clinical knowledge is efficiently lacking for treating HIV
h. The public sector hardly participates in any public health
i. There are a growing number of colleges and so inadvertently
the numbers of educated youth are also increasing thus
sighting an increased need for awareness and a greater chance
of success with any awareness project.
j. There are large populations of medical Practitioners who
are a part of the local chapter of the Indian Medical
k.. This clinical population does come across HIV positive
individuals on a routine basis, however lacks the training and
capacity to provide care and support.
l. There is considerable prevalence of high-risk behaviors
specially that of alcohol consumption and commercial sex work.
m. There is no other organization in the region specifically
dealing with HIV and related issues.
Ms. Tasneem Raja
VRACS: Kripa Foundation