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'Flood the System'

'Flood the System'

The mandate of the Public Health Foundation of India is to redress the limited institutional capacity in India for training, research and policy development in public health, says  K.Srinath Reddy, President of the PHFI.

The mandate of the Public Health Foundation of India is to redress the limited institutional capacity in India for training, research and policy development in public health. BT's Shalini S.Dagar speaks to K.Srinath Reddy, President of the PHFI, to understand how much progress has been made. Excerpts from an interview:

On the distance covered since the PHFI was set up in 2006
K.Srinath Reddy, President of the PHFI
K.Srinath Reddy
We have started addressing the gap in capacity both in terms of quality and scale; minuscule high-quality efforts cannot change the scenario. You have to flood the system. Within four years we have set up four Indian Institutes of Public Health in Delhi, Hyderabad, Gandhinagar and Bhubaneswar.

We are partnering with the government of Madhya Pradesh to start a diploma course in public health management in Gwalior. We have a large number of research programmes spread across the country where we are doing policy and programme-relevant research. We are looking at areas such as tobacco control, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health.

On whether the PHFI has adequate influence and impact on policy
We act both as enablers for the government and as independent experts offering advice. For example, the highlevel expert group on universal health coverage set up by the Planning Commission has the PHFI as its secretariat. We are pursuing excellence and relevance.

On whether the PHFI has access to adequate funds
The initial commitment of Rs65 crore came from the government with a matching contribution from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; roughly Rs120 crore was committed by private donors, about 80 per cent of which has been realised. We are looking to raise over Rs400 crore in the next round over the next two years.