Why should you be selected for the programme?
I have done my Graduation and Post Graduation in Social Work and worked in the development sector for the past 8 years. I have started my career in public health as a project manager with an NGO managing implementation of a targeted intervention among slum/ migrant population in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. From there, I have progressively moved on to program management at the state level. During this period, I had the privilege of working with several national and international foundations. I have been closely associated with Govt, Non-govt and Private sectors to ensure their involvement for effective implementation of different health related projects.
My professional experience gave me an extensive exposure to managing & implementation of Reproductive & Child Health (RCH) and Focused Prevention projects. Identifying potential partnerships, planning/proposal development, financing/granting & grant management, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, and supportive supervision are the major skills acquired during my career. My ability to Liaison, advocate and collaborate with various stake holders involved in HIV prevention is a major asset.
I strongly feel this course would be very relevant to develop a comprehensive understanding of public health. I also strongly feel that the different subjects taught as part of course such as `basic concepts epidemiology, health financing, administration of health services, structure and functions of public health would add great value for any public health personnel for effective planning, implementation and evaluation of the program.
I always see myself in contributing to the national programmes at designing/planning and implementation level and be part of Public health administration at large. My education and experience had supported me to a great extent to realise my potential and dream so far. This course would increase the avenues by many folds for me to achieve my dream and also to share my knowledge and experience with vast and divergent groups.
In conclusion, I would like to mention that my education, my experience and my passion for contributing to the public health scenario in India make my candidature a potential one to pursue the course.
Public Health Challenges in India and how you will be able to contribute to the solution?
In India, an individual incurs the large out-of-pocket expenses on health. This despite a national commitment which embraces the notion that access to basic, essential health services should be guaranteed to everyone, irrespective to income or ability to pay.
The meagre government spending of 1% of GDP is unable to address the needs be it in capacity or spread of healthcare services. First, the budget allocated for health is not sufficient and second, utilisation of the allocated budget is also poor. There are instances where funds allocated for health are being diverted for other programs.
The objectives of any health care system are equitable access, high quality and low cost care. Revitalization of primary healthcare approach for promoting health, protecting the environment, controlling disease and making healthcare accessible to all has become a big challenge.
Lack of doctors in the rural sector is one of the major hindrances in India. Even the local villagers who study medicine prefer to work in the city rather than going back and working in their own village. The need is to establish much more achievable and a simple health system which can ensure good healthcare of the villagers.
Though there are many public health programs, most of these schemes focus on strengthening infrastructural systems rather than providing necessary technical and managerial support in implementation of the schemes. Recent initiatives under NRHM scheme have all the ingredients for boosting rural health care but even this program is also facing the same issues at the implementation level.
At the same time, to tackle the new public health threats like diabetes, cancers, heart diseases etc. there is a need for programs that create awareness and build infrastructure that encourage healthy lifestyles among individuals.
In our country itself, we have many successful cases to learn lessons, there are states that are performing well and there are states that are not performing so well.
Action points -
- Public sector to be more alert, there is a need for good managers
- Involvement of private sector in public health (need for PPP)
- Decentralise governance - Strengthen the local/self governance
The health services in India lack public health expertise to provide technical support for the programs.
These challenges can partly be addressed through:
1. Increased availability of doctors in rural areas. Although policies exist, to ensure availability of doctors in rural areas, seldom it is practiced. There is a need to adopt incentive or other motivating strategies (such as providing diploma courses to facilitate promotion) to ensure that the policies are adhered to.
2. Building public health knowledge and skills among the existing medical and non medical officers responsible for programs implementation at the district level.
3. Increase public private partnership to ensure that the services are available and accessible.
As an individual or part of the organisation, I am confident of advocating such strategies in relevant and/or appropriate platforms. On the other hand, I am confident of building the public health expertise among the existing or potential public health career aspirants by being part of PHFIs vision.