India’s Central Government Should Invest In Strengthening Public Health Service Delivery

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Monica Das Gupta, research professor at the University of Maryland, College Park

“…Health services in India have prioritized medical services, neglecting public health services that seek to reduce the population’s exposure to disease. … Reducing exposure to communicable diseases is of the highest priority in public health services, as their spread causes severe negative spillovers. … The central government can do much to strengthen public health service delivery in India. … [It] could link its fiscal support to states with phased progress in (1) the establishment within the state health departments of separate public health directorates with their own budgets and staff, managed by medical doctors trained in public health administration; (2) the enactment of public health acts to provide the basic legislative underpinning for public health action; and (3) the revitalization of public health cadres. These measures can help use public funds more effectively for protecting people’s health…” (8/31).