National Public Health Institutes: contributing to the public good

J Public Health Policy. 2008 Apr;29(1):3-21. doi: 10.1057/palgrave.jphp.3200167.


Donor and government funding for public health programs in low-resource countries - to increase immunizations or treat HIV/AIDS, for example - has risen dramatically. Rising less rapidly is the funding for public health functions that are not direct services or linked to programs for high-priority diseases and conditions. In many countries, these functions are housed in National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs). NPHIs are science-based agencies, usually within national governments, that include in their missions such public goods as assessing and monitoring the population's health and responding to outbreaks. Through a survey, we collected information from and about members of a new international organization for NPHIs. The responses illustrate the roles of NPHIs as purveyors of public goods. Data collected in the future on NPHI structures, practices, and challenges will be helpful to countries that are creating or restructuring NPHIs. The new knowledge will also help advocates for increasing budgetary support for the public goods functions of NPHIs.

MeSH terms

  • Global Health*
  • Health Planning / organization & administration
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration
  • Health Services Administration*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / organization & administration
  • Income
  • Public Health Administration*
  • World Health Organization