BHUBANESWAR:Odisha Government has pressed the Centre for establishment of an All- India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health (AIIHPH) in the State.
A national institute of the kind will not only create a stream of trained manpower in public health areas but also steer research for finding solutions to the high burden of diseases in the State, the Government has contended.
Odisha is the first State to have approached the Centre which is planning to establish five AIIHPHs in the country on the lines of the premier institution at Kolkata. A formal proposal has been submitted to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare by State Health Secretary Arati Ahuja. The institute would come up with 100 per cent Central support.
The institution is deemed essential for the State due to the enormous public health challenges it faces. While on one hand non-communicable diseases are on the rise, there has been no let up in communicable diseases. From viral hepatitis, malaria, dengue, gastroenteritis, cholera to H1N1, the State’s battle with public health issues has been aggravating by each passing year. The State has become endemic to many diseases which take a heavy toll every year.
“The challenges cannot be tackled by adopting curative approach only. We have to strengthen public health systems to prevent and control the diseases but acutely lack in manpower in the area. We also have to conduct field-based research to develop evidence-based approaches against diseases and this cannot be possible unless the State has an institute like AIIHPH Kolkata,” Ahuja stated in the proposal.
The institute will offer training courses as well as spearhead research in diverse disciplines like biochemistry and nutrition, epidemiology, health promotion, public health administration, public health nursing, occupational health, environment and sanitation, preventive and social medicine and behavioural sciences. It will also have its own public health laboratory and establish peripheral units in rural and urban areas.
The institute is being proposed as a Regional Centre for setting up district-level laboratories in Eastern and Southern States for water quality testing under National Drinking Water Mission.
The area of operations would be very broad from food and water safety, public health sensitisation, disease surveillance, malnutrition issues, area-specific intervention strategy development and disaster response.
“A multi-disciplinary institute like AIIHPH at Bhubaneswar is a dire necessity for the State to develop high quality public health network and manpower in the field,” Ahuja emphasised.