Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced the launch of an ambitious public-private initiative for the establishment of five institutions in order to train around 5,000 public health professionals. This announcement seeks to address the inequalities in healthcare between the rich and the poorer sections of the society.
The new venture named the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), also aims to impart multi-disciplinary knowledge through a network of public health schools in order to boost services, revitalize existing institutions and introduce greater levels of expertise. While conceding that the public health sector is in shambles, Mr Singh also noted that the performance of the private health sector was also lacking. 'Regrettably, on the whole, the record of the private sector in health care provisioning in India has not been very good even though it is the dominant source of health care provisioning,' he said. 'We are all familiar with reports of unethical practices, including commissions given in return for referral and diagnostic work. We must have appropriate measures to tackle this.' At a meeting that was graced by presence of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, Mr Singh said that there were many areas in which public and private healthcare intersected.