The University of Hyderabad has made a significant foray into public health education with two new courses, formally launched on July 23. The first is the Master’s in Public Health (MPH) introduced by the School of Medical Sciences in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, an arm of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI). Also introduced by the Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication is the one-year Post Graduate Diploma course in Health Communication. Describing this in his keynote address as a “transformational venture,” Prof Srinath Reddy, Chairman PHFI, lauded this interdisciplinary approach to public health education that would “rescue it from the crypts of community medicine”. Prof. Srinath Reddy spoke about the need to Invest in the Public Health capacity of India, noting that “public health has remained in the background in university education”.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Public Health Foundation of India and University of Hyderabad to cement the teaching and research collaboration in public health.
Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Vice Chancellor, UoH spoke on this occasion about the role of universities in Public Health sector. Referring to the recent unfortunate incident of the mismanagement of mid-day meals and the subsequent death of children in Bihar, he highlighted the appalling condition of public health in India. He expressed the hope that the 40 students of this first batch of the MPH programme will be the beginning to promote Public health among people.
Dr Srinath Reddy further emphasized that public health interventions need to be both educational and policy based to bring about desired changes in health beliefs and behaviour, he said. Study of public health involves interdisciplinary learning, multi-sectoral application and problem solving ability. For a generation that carries the triple burden of communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases and emergence and re-emergence of other diseases, he pointed out that public health, if neglected could adversely affect our future. Presenting the statistics on infant mortality, immunization and malnutrition in India, he stated, that not only did we figure way below the other countries but also had wide disparities across states within the country.
The two courses represent the University’s continuing effort to offer courses that are not only academically rigorous but also socially relevant, and which draw upon its interdisciplinary strengths.
Prof Geeta Vemuganti, Dean, School of Medical Sciences, Dr. Usha Raman, HoD, Dept. of Communication, Prof. Aloka Parashar Sen, Dean, School of Social Sciences, Prof. S Sandhya, faculty of school of School of Economics and Prof P Jyoti, faculty for School of Management explained the course structure and elaborated on the role of their schools in developing and executing the curriculum of the course.
– by Kedar Nadella – student of MA Communication