Public health in India: issues and challenges

Indian J Public Health. 2011 Apr-Jun;55(2):88-91. doi: 10.4103/0019-557X.85237.


Health is determined not only by medical care but also by determinants outside the medical sector. Public health approach is to deal with all these determinants of health which requires multi sectoral collaboration and inter-disciplinary coordination. Although there have been major improvements in public health since 1950s, India is passing through demographic and environmental transition which is adding to burden of diseases. There is triple burden of diseases, viz. communicable, non-communicable and emerging infectious diseases. This high burden of disease, disability and death can only be addressed through an effective public health system. However, the growth of public health in India has been very slow due to low public expenditure on health, very few public health institutes in India and inadequate national standards for public health education. Recent years have seen efforts towards strengthening public health in India in the form of launch of NRHM, upgradation of health care infrastructure as per IPHS, initiation of more public health courses in some medical colleges and public health institutions and strengthening of public health functional capacity of states and districts under IDSP.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology*
  • Disease Outbreaks / economics
  • Disease Outbreaks / statistics & numerical data*
  • Food Supply
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Life Style
  • Population Dynamics
  • Public Health / economics
  • Public Health / standards
  • Public Health / trends*
  • Sanitation