Working towards a healthier India
PHFI is helping to build institutional and systems capacity in India for strengthening education, training, research and policy development in the area of Public Health.
You are here  : Home About Us Public Health in India

Public Health in India PDF Print

What is public health?

Public health has often been defined as a science dealing with the determinants and defence of health at the population level, while clinical medicine deals with multiple maladies and their remedies at the level of an individual patient.

Public health aims to understand and influence the social, cultural and economic determinants of health as well as to study and structure health systems as efficient channels for health services delivery. Public health is thus, a discipline built on the academic tradition of inquiry involving research, teaching and professional practice to prevent disease and promote health in populations.

What is the need for a public health response?

India is experiencing a rapid health transition. It is confronted both by an unfinished agenda of infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies and unsafe pregnancies as well as the challenge of escalating epidemics of non-communicable diseases. This composite threat to the nation’s health and development needs a concerted public health response that can ensure efficient delivery of cost-effective interventions for health promotion, disease prevention and affordable diagnostic and therapeutic health care.

How can we build capacity for an efficient public health response?

Health challenges require to be understood and acted upon. Concerted health research, policy development and analysis, programme development and evaluation, health systems organization, models of health care financing and operationalized scientific research are aids to this process.They assess and highlight the need for action, while providing insight for possible solutions.

Education and training in public health needs to be inter-disciplinary in content so that the pathways of public health action are multi-sectoral. Public health education must include subject areas like epidemiology, biostatistics, behavioral sciences, health economics, health services management, environmental health, health inequities and human rights, gender and health, health communication, ethics of health care and research. The interventions proposed need to be evidence-based, context-specific and resource- sensitive.



Dr. Manmohan Singh  

The importance of public health in India’s development cannot be overemphasised. Ours is a demographically young country. The largest growing demographic segment in India over the next two decades lies between 15-59 years. This provides a wide window of opportunity to enhance national growth provided one can productively deploy this large base of human resources.

- Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India at the launch of PHFI


Last Modified : June 13, 2014, 3:55 pm