Namaste ji !
It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to All India Institute of Hygiene & Public Health, Kolkata, which was established in 1932 as South-East Asia’s firstpublic health teaching, training and research institute with support from the Rockfeller Foundation. During the initial decades of its inception, this institute became synonymous with ground breaking innovations such as Sir Joseph Bhore’sPrimary Health Care delivery system, low-cost pour-flush toilet, Arsenic treatment plantfor potable water, etc.Subsequently we were associated with innovations in teaching, training and research in mostmajor sub-fields of public health. Today the institute is fulfilling its mandate as the apex national public health institution of the central government and has therefore, been assigned very wide roles and responsibilities related to teaching, training, research, and coordination with various Programme divisions of MoHFW and also with various State/ UT Governments. With regard to its mandate for training/ capacity building, today we are a well-recognized innovator in skill building in diverse fields of public health, be it for fresh medical officers, or mid and senior-level managers, whetherwith respect to management of public health emergencies, or launching of newcourses in emerging public health fields viz. organ transplant counsellor cum organ retrieval coordinator, geriatric public health, etc. The institute is also working on a comprehensive programme of curriculum revision for each of its existing thirteen courses to make them even more relevant to present day needs and employability. It is also contemplating the roll-out of many new courses and short training programmes. With regard to our role as technical advisor to the government of India for a variety of Programme divisions, weare contributing effectively in monitoring and evaluation of various national health programmes for various States/ UTs and also playing a lead role in the development of newer programmes and/ or modifications in existing ones for enhancing their reach and/ or effectiveness. As is true for individuals, institutions must also find out newer dimensions where it can work and contribute to further enhance the effectiveness of our existing public health systems and teaching, training and research institutions. In this respect AIIHPH is trying to add an entirely new domain to public health training – by transforming itself into a public health school of global standards and having within its roof ten existing major sub-fields of public health, a close-knit working relationship with all the National Health Programmes (through respective Programme divisions at MoHFW, Govt. of India and its Regional Office/s) including Air-port health office, Port health office, Regional/ State offices of NCDC, and many other smaller public health units (e.g. FSSAI, GMSD, CDL, SI, etc.). In this context I also feel happy to share with you that we are also proposing to add nearly ten newer allied public health departments, as indicated below:
(a) Department of GIS and AI (for continuous assessment of pre-identified target diseases for forecasting outbreaks),
(b) Department of Public Health App designing, etc
(c) Department of One Health and Climate change including an Unit of Veterinary Public Health (for conducting pan India Entomological & Zoonotic disease studies and forecast their trends),
(d) Department of Health Policy and Legislations,
(e) Department of Health Economics,
(f) Department of Social &Behavioral Sciences,
(g) Department of Disaster Management & Public Health Emergencies,
(h) Department of Demography and Population Studies,
It goes without saying that key public health departments such as Occupational Health, Sanitary Engineering, Biochemistry & Nutrition, Public Health Nursing, etc. which are presently having no/ minimal faculty shall be tried to be replenished at the earliest and steps for it have already been initiated.
It is no secret that to tackle newer problems, we need newer organizations and since we are now seized with a new challenge – to control/ eliminate/ eradicate the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD), a group of 20 diverse disease conditions affecting predominantly the disadvantaged sections of the society, to which we arecommitted being a signatory to WHO and the UN.AIIHPH has, therefore, proposed to develop Regional Leprosy Training & Research Institute (RLTRI)Gouripur, Bankura (WB) and upgrade it into a national nodal centre for training and research on Neglected Tropical Diseases, and run it under its wings.
AIIHPH also proposes the setting up of a “national public health museum”to preserve the past of public health and to sensitize the laity, bureaucrats and peoples representatives w.r.t. national health programmes, their evolution, achievements, outcomes and challenges, and the way forward.
In order to achieve all the above, two things assume crucial importance: (a) Appropriate HR and (b) Collaborations. AIIHPHhas started trying to fill up all the posts lying vacant since the past two to three decades, in war footing – it is trying both the options available to it, revival of deemed abolished/ abolished posts as well as creation of new posts. With regard to collaborations, since no organization can have expertize on all fronts, least so for a highly specialized and complex domain that public health is, AIIHPH has understood this very clearly now and started to collaborate. The agencies with whom we have started/ are intending to collaborate, including through MOUs, are: (i) National Health systems Resource Centre (NHSRC) New Delhi (ii) National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dte. GHS, New Delhi (iii) ECHO India (iv) National Health Mission (NHM), MoHFW (v) AIIMS – Patna &Bhubaneshwar, etc.
All the above stated goals/ objectives and our mission can only be achieved if we have an efficient, effective, and dedicated human resource for health (HRH) which shall be our single greatest asset. It would, hence, be our endeavour to invest in HRH, build thecapacities of all groups of employees, especially the lowest cadres, empower them through specifically designed capsule courses in general administration, accounting, store related functions, drafting, etc. They would also be taken into confidence while taking major decisions pertaining to the institution.
It is my strong conviction that with all the above in position and a little support and guidance from our higher authorities, AIIH & PH can certainly fulfil its objectives of creation, and achieve even greater glory in the days to come.
Jai Hind !