MoHFW prepares a model syllabus for Masters in Public Health course

Pranita Roy
Thursday, 27 September 2018

“In India, we focus on curing the disease and not prevention, instead we should focus on improving the health and sanitation condition to prevent disease,” said medical education expert Nitin Bhagali.

Pune: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has highlighted the need to create a dedicated public health cadre as one of the important pre-requisites to improve the health system in the country. On the lines of this, the ministry has prepared a model course curriculum for a Masters in Public Health (MPH),  a two years’ full-time programme including internship and dissertation. 

The School of Health Science of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) was the pioneer in offering MPH course in 2003. “We received Rs 50 lakh grant from UGC that year for the course. We started with epidemology, biostatics and determinant of health which includes lifestyle, nutrition, environment and genetics. After that comes medical care, however, we only focus upon medical treatment and not precautions or prevention. Therefore, now if the course is enlarged it will help in bringing attention to these aspects,” said Bhushan Patwardhan, Head of the Department.

He added, “This course is not restrictive to medical education only, although initially when it started, most of the students were from medical background. But, our department has faculties and students from various backgrounds, specially social sciences as the demography and other factors of a particular disease can be studied to understand the root cause of it.”

The course will comprise 15 core modules inclusive of Principles and Practice of Public Health, Epidemiology, Health System Management, Health Programme and Policy and Planning. Several elective modules like Sexual and Reproductive Health, Maternal and Child Health, Adolescent Health, Gender and Health, Public Health Nutrition which will be offered by universities depending on their capacity and capability. A candidate will need to pass 15 core (compulsory) modules and five elective modules of the chosen stream to successfully complete the programme.

The Ministry has suggested that institutes choose to offer elective modules in other thematic areas such as Advanced Health Economics and Financing, Advanced Health Informatics, Demography and Population Sciences, Advanced Environmental and Occupational Health, Global Health Security and International Policies, Advanced Health Promotions and also, Human Resources for Health. Each elective stream should contain coursework for at least 10 credits or 350 hours.

“In India, we focus on curing the disease and not prevention, instead we should focus on improving the health and sanitation condition to prevent disease,” said medical education expert Nitin Bhagali.

“India has become the capital of major lifestyle diseases. There is need to enforce strict laws on those who defecate, urinate and spit tobacco on the road. These precautions will help in preventing infectious diseases. Our budget should be focused on maternal healthcare and malnutrition,” said Bhagali.

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