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PM launches PHFI to set up Public Health Institutes

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 28: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today launched the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), a public private initiative in health care system, that would establish five to seven world class Indian Institute of Public Health within next five years.

PHFI will work with a broad range of national and international partners to set up these IIPHs at a cost of Rs 500 crore to Rs 700 crore and two such institutes will open by 2008. Each of these Institutes would train 1000 public health professionals annually to meet the demand for health care managers in the country.

PHFI, which is first of its kind, innovated public private partnership, would strengthen quality standards of public health education. The Foundation would create a ''think tank'' to conduct research on critical health policy issues and provide advice to health decision makers.

It has 20 distinguished people like nobel laureate Amartya Sen, CSIR Director R A Mashelkar, ICMR Director General N C Ganguly, NACO Director Genral K Sujatha Rao, Director of Avahan AIDS Initiative of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Ashok Alexander and Director of Global Health Strategies, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation David Fleming, UNICEF Adviors and member of National Advisory Council A K Shiva Kumar, Regional Director of UNAIDS J V R Prasada Rao and Senior Partner worldwide of McKinseyand Company on its governing board.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is providing 15 million dollar grant to support the initiative while many other companies and individuals have also confirmed philanthropic contributions to PHFI. It would be an autonomous entity, which would proactively engage the governments.

The need for such an initiative has long been felt given the serious public health challenges facing India--rising disease burden and the need to substantially strengthen the responses.

Communicable diseases like dengue and HIV/AIDS are on the increase while the emergence of non communicable diseases like diabetes and heart diseases and the rise of systemic health burden such as injuries from accidents poses new challenges. In order to impart sustainability to the public health interventions, human resource capacity needs to be built.

The initiative, which has come into existence after a two-year long comprehensive assessment of demand and supply of health professionals enjoys wide support nationally and internationally.

The government is very supportive of the effort with Health Ministry being the nodal agency, Prime Minister's office, Planning Commission, Ministry of Science and Technology and Finance Ministry all have supported it. It would proactively stimulate demand for public health professionals in the public and private sectors and pursue its research agenda.

UNI

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