Engaging academic institutions in public health programs: lessons from anemia control program in india
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All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India Professor, Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India Centre for Community Medicine, Old OT-Block, AIIMS, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi (Pin Code-110029), India India
ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Faridabad, Haryana, India
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India India
UNICEF, India India
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A898
Background and Objectives:
Public health nutrition (PHN) programs in India have seen increased focus and high political commitment recently. National Nutritional Strategy, POSHAN Abhiyaan, and Anemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) have set defined targets in line with Global Nutrition targets (2025) to strengthen nutrition services. Engaging academic institutions (medical colleges, nutrition colleges, other allied discipline academic institutions) is an important strategy to strengthen public health.

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi established in 1956, is an Apex Medical Institution of India. The trinity of mission of AIIMS is teaching/training, patient service, and research with >2000 students, 300,000 patients and 600 research publications as output every year. Over last 70 years, AIIMS contributed significantly in PHN. AIIMS was designated as National Centre for excellence (CoE) for AMB (NCEAR-A) in 2018. It has been instrumental in testing innovations in research and technology; developing guidelines incorporating scientific and community perspectives; capacity building; monitoring and supportive supervision of AMB.

With its skilled workforce, AIIMS has contributed to various PHN-orientated scalable research such as iron-fortification, effectiveness of parenteral-iron formulations, and validation techniques for hemoglobin estimation. Apart from research, NCEAR-A has been actively involved in setting up Test, Treat and Talk camps in several parts of India and developing ‘Training Manual’ and ‘Advocacy Booklet on Anemia’ for medical professionals, program managers, and service providers. It works in collaboration with professional bodies to disseminate AMB strategy, support states, and institutions for developing SCOEs. Establishment of an apex reference laboratory is underway.

Academic institutions support national public health programs through research, innovative interventions, integration of scientific knowledge and practice, and creation of a skilled younger generation. Academic institutions in return benefit from this engagement by getting platform for testing knowledge products and also can leverage greater resources for institutions.

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