Institutional Framework around Public Health in India

In the constitution of India, items such as public health, hospitals and sanitation fall in the State list. However, the items having wider ramifications at the national level like population control & family welfare, medical education, prevention of food adulteration, quality control in manufacture of drugs etc. have been included in the Concurrent list. Thus, both state and union governments are able to make laws on these subjects.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is instrumental and responsible for implementation of various programmes on a national scale in the areas of Health and Family Welfare, prevention and control of major communicable diseases and promotion of traditional and indigenous systems of medicines. Apart from these, the Ministry also assists States in preventing and controlling the spread of seasonal disease outbreaks and epidemics through technical assistance.

In addition to the 100 per cent centrally sponsored family welfare programme, the Ministry is implementing several World Bank assisted programmes for control of AIDS, Malaria, Leprosy, Tuberculosis and Blindness in designated areas. Besides, State Health Systems Development Projects with World Bank assistance are under implementation in various states.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare comprises the following departments as follows:

Department of Health and Family Welfare

The Department of Health and Family Welfare is responsible for implementation of national level programmes for control of communicable and non- communicable diseases, hospitals and dispensaries and medical education.

Department of AYUSH

The department of AYUSH takes care of promotion of indigenous systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Unani, Siddha and ongoing research in indigenous medicine.

Department of Health Research

The Department of Health Research is mainly concerned with research in medical and health activities.

National AIDS Control Organization

National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) is responsible for planning and implementation of programmes for prevention and control of AIDS. Earlier, it was a department under the Ministry. The Modi Government has now merged it with National Health Mission (NHM).

Directorate General of Health Service (DGHS)

Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) is an attached office of the Department of Health and Family Welfare and has subordinate offices spread all over the country. The DGHS renders technical advice on all medical and public health matters and is involved in the implementation of various health schemes.

Public Health System in India

The public health system in India comprises a set of state-owned health care facilities funded and controlled by the government of India. Some of these are controlled by agencies of the central government while some are controlled by the governments of the states of India.

  • All India Institutes of Medical Sciencesowned and controlled by the central government. These are referral hospitals with super speciality facilities. Currently, AIIMS are located in Bhopal, Bhubneshwar, Jodhpur, New Delhi, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh.
  • Regional Cancer Centresare cancer care hospitals and research institutes controlled jointly by the central and the respective state governments.
  • Government Medical Collegesowned and controlled by the respective state governments. These are referral hospitals.
  • District Hospitals or General Hospitals: Controlled by the respective state governments and serving the respective districts (administrative divisions in India).
  • Taluk hospitals: Taluk level hospitals controlled by the respective state governments and serving the respective taluks (administrative divisions in India, and smaller than districts).
  • Primary Health Centres: The most basic units with the most basic facilities, and especially serving rural India.

Various Bodies in Public Healthcare

Medical council of India

MCI is a statutory body established and governed by Indian Medical Council Act 1956. We have discussed MCI and issues related to its working in past; and this document also has discussed it again.

Central Health Education Bureau

CHEB is an apex institution under DGHS for the health education and health promotion in the country. The Bureau is located in New Delhi. Its functions include imparting long-term and short-term training programmes to different levels of health and non – health professionals.

Pharmacy Council of India

The Pharmacy Council of India is a statutory body constituted under the Pharmacy Act, 1948. It is responsible for the regulation of pharmacy education and practice of profession in the country for registration as a pharmacist. At present, there are around 500 approved institutions.

Dental Council of India

Dental Council of India is a statutory body established under the Dentists Act, 1948 with the prime objective of regulating dental education, profession and its ethics in the country.

Indian Nursing Council

The Indian Nursing Council is a statutory body constituted under the Indian Nursing Council Act, 1947. The Council is responsible for regulation and maintenance of uniform standards of training for nurses, midwives, ANMs and Lady Health Visitors in India.  The Council prescribes the syllabi and regulations for various Nursing courses.

National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET)

NEET is a national level common medical entrance examination to allow class XII students or XII passed students to sit in a single entrance examination to get admission to almost all medical colleges in India, including private medical colleges.  We have already discussed NEET in education related document of our programme.


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