Postgraduate Course - MPH

Introduction:

 

The evolution of public health in India dates back to pre-independence era with the formation of the Indian Medical Services in 1896 and the subsequent transfer of public health, sanitation, and vital statistics to the provinces in 1919. The Calcutta Medical College was established by an order in 1835 to fulfill the growing need for health professionals. The establishment of the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health (AIIH and PH) – Kolkata in December 1932 was a welcome development towards  imparting Public Health Education (PHE) in India and bears the laurel of being the oldest school of public health in South-East Asia. The focus on public health education in India came into consideration after the formation of the Bhore Committee, in the 1940s. The report of the Health Survey and Development Committee chaired by Sir Joseph Bhore emphasized upon the inadequate teaching of preventive medicine and public health in the medical student’s undergraduate training, thereby highlighting the need and importance of public health education.

 

In 1999, World Health Organization convened a regional conference on public health education and practice in the South East Asia Region in the 21st century  in Kolkata. The main purpose of this conference was to critically review the public health situation including public health education and practice in this region, and to identify effective ways and means to improve and strengthen public health education and practice. It was discussed that the best way to strengthen public health infrastructure and services is through strengthening public health workforce. In order to generate skilled public health workforce, it is extremely important to strengthen the public health education architecture in the country. The main outcome of this regional conference was the “Calcutta declaration on public health.” This declaration provides a broad strategy and framework of action for strengthening public health education in the South East Asia Region including India.

 

 

The public health professionals constitute the specialist public health workforce which could be defined as a workforce comprising people who have higher qualifications in public health and who occupy positions exclusively or substantially focused on population health. Currently the public health professionals trained in India can be classified in two different categories: (1) trained in core public health or specialized in some specific area of public health, (2) possessing medical or nonmedical background before acquiring public health training.

 

In the last few years there is a paradigm shift in public health education in India with a few institutions (with medical and nonmedical background) initiating public health programs for both medical and nonmedical graduates. Some of them offer core public health programs (Masters in Public Health – MPH) and some of them offer specialized courses (MPH with tracks/specialization). Presently a total of 23 institutions offer MPH programs in India with annual intake capacity of 573 candidates. However, many of these institutions have not been able to fill their seats and more than 20–25% seats remain vacant as they do not find suitable candidates. In recent past, some institutions have launched specialized courses in public health related disciplines. These courses include masters and diploma programs in health and hospital management/administration, master’s program in epidemiology, diploma programs in health economics, and healthcare financing, diploma programs in bio-statistics and data management, diploma programs in public health nutrition, etc. Except for the programs in health and hospital management/administration there is limited intake capacity of other specialized programs which is generally attributed to less demand for such programs.

 

The Indian public health system is also reaping the boom of a strong national market and the positive globalizing forces. There is also an accompanying impetus on increasing the accountability of the health system with several initiatives expected to deliver the results in the forthcoming decade. Civil society is also actively engaging in specific health care issues but needs a strong common platform to champion the greater public health good. These changes represent the macro dimension in which modern day public health is functioning.

 

Public health has a national and a global impact, but suffers from an imbalance between the demand and the supply ratio to achieve the desired impetus. With the arrival of the Millennium Development Goals, there is renewed interest in global health. The ability of healthcare systems to provide safe, high-quality, effective, and patient-centered services depends on sufficient, well-motivated, and appropriately skilled personnel operating within service delivery models that optimize their performance. The large size of the country and vast cultural and economic diversity necessitate effective managerial endeavours at the grassroots level.

 

Thus, it is very clear that the scope of public health education has been expanded significantly with more number of institutions engaging in offering public health programs in different disciplines of public health, thereby resulting in increase of yearly output of public health professionals. Moreover, several of these programs are available for both medical and nonmedical background professionals.

 

However, despite this growth, public health education in India is facing challenges related to accreditation of institutions and programs, competency driven curriculum, and career pathways for trained public health professionals. As recommended by Lancet Commission there is an urgent need to revisit the both institutional and instructional frameworks of public health education in India. Public health education must be reconfigured to meet complex contemporary challenges and respond to exciting new opportunities that are evident and emerging in Indian public health scenario. This is the right time to revisit overall public health education framework in India and design appropriate strategies to transform the existing architecture of public health education in India. This would certainly require interventions at several levels from governance to implementation. One of the critical recommendations of the Commission in the context of reforms agenda is using ‘networking and partnerships’ for transforming public health education.

 

Collaboration, a potentially powerful instrument of academic systems, describes the opportunities to enhance educational quality and productivity through sharing of information, academic exchange, pursuit of joint work, and synergies between institutions. Collaboration can serve many purposes, deploy several instruments, and takes place at different levels. It ultimately involves the relationship between individuals, but it can be structured and sustained through formalized institutional arrangements that promote, finance, and sustain relationships over time. The institutional purposes in education, research, and service can be advanced through sharing of curricula, exchange of faculty and students, collaborative research, and other activities.

 

Two types of institutional collaborations are worthy of consideration: Between public health schools and between educational and other types of institutions. Collaboration between schools mostly enhances capacity in key institutional functions such as education, research, and service. Collaboration between other types of institutions links educational institutions with partner organizations; such as government, nongovernmental organizations, business, and the media; which can bring together complementary assets for mutual benefit. This will significantly contribute in making education system more responsive, dynamic and accountable.

 

India is experiencing rapid development in the arena of public health and has achieved great strides in improving public health education over the past several decades. However, much remains to be done. In order to strengthen public health system in India, we need to position adequately trained, multi-disciplinary and competent public health professionals at all the levels. Public health education is a tool to produce these professionals. Hence, it is critical to address deficiencies in our professional public health education system through the reforms agenda. The Lancet Commission Framework provides an excellent starting-point for this development. Networks, collaborations, and partnerships have been identified key drivers for advancing the agenda of reforms in public health education. Although, we have existing networks of individuals and institutions, there potential to bring about change has still not being utilized fully and effectively.

 

 Immediate collaborative efforts could be directed towards designing and adaptation of competency driven frameworks suitable of addressing public health challenges of 21st century, shifting the current focus of curriculum to multidisciplinary public health outlook, developing accreditation mechanisms for both the programs and institutions, engaging in creating job opportunities, and designing career pathways for public health professionals in public and private sector.

 

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Public health is multi-disciplinary with a wide variety of professionals constituting the public health team. Team members can include statisticians, demographers, economists, nutritionists, sociologists, nurses, and so on. Several other groups like occupational health physicians, ergonomists, health and hospital management graduates, para-medical staff, public health engineers, and environmental health experts also play a vital role in completing the public health team. Although practitioners of public health are familiar to this reality, this reality rarely (if ever) dawns to a student who is confined to a hospital for a major duration of his education. Public health problems can rarely, if ever, be compartmentalized as exclusively biomedical. There are not just multiple causal factors for a health state and several approaches toward tackling the problem, but also a myriad interplay between numerous disciplines while addressing public health problems. Decisions like adopting a new vaccine at the state level are not driven by mere disease-related concerns (exceptions like life-threatening diseases and epidemic situations notwithstanding), but are also influenced by cost-effectiveness and social acceptance, with a high reliance on health promotional activities.

 

Recognizing the important role played by the community medicine departments, it is necessary to ensure that they continue to positively influence public health activities across the country in the changing scenario of PHE in the country. The solutions offered are not entirely novel. Efforts toward implementing some have been initiated in bits and pieces across the country and some efforts toward achieving them have already been instituted. Encouraging results however need prompt replication, with inter-institutional networking holding the key to wider dissemination and adoption.

 

Public health education for long has been expected to find solutions for multitude of public health problems. The existing capacity and hence the output in field of public health in India is highly inadequate to meet the need for building a critical mass of epidemiologists and other public health experts at various levels of the health system. To ensure that such critical mass is built and maintained, it is recommended to strengthen training capacity, to address issues related to placement and retention, and to standardize and improve quality of training programmes.

 

This explains the need of modern public health practice which requires an interdisciplinary knowledge within various specialties. The Master of Public Health (MPH) program at AIIMS, Jodhpur will provide young professionals the critical multidisciplinary training to help tackle these public health issues and achieve leadership position.

Information for Students

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MPH Course at School of Public Health (SPH)-AIIMS Jodhpur 01-08-2017 30-09-2017 Result
Institutional Counselling for Post Graduate Seats at AIIMS Jodhpur 26-07-2016 28-07-2016 CLOSED