National public health institutes serve as a home for public health systems and expertise in many countries across the globe

Islamabad, December 04, 2015 (PPI-OT): National public health institutes (NPHI) serve as a home for public health systems and expertise in many countries across the globe. The establishment of an organized, well-functioning institute to carry out essential public health functions and ensure accountability for public health resources is vital for overall public health system of the country.

National institute of Health Pakistan began as the Bureau of Laboratories in Karachi in June 1948. However, in 1960 a National Health Centre was established at Islamabad as a unified public health facility whose various units were merged in 1974 into one organization as National Health Laboratories (NHL). In 1980, the NHL was made an autonomous body of the Ministry of Health through a Presidential Ordinance under the name of National Institute of Health (NIH) with the principal function to serve as the premier public health services institute and to foster international and regional collaboration through participation in global disease control activities. Currently, the NIH has five major Divisions, a College of Medical Laboratory Technology and support departments to facilitate financial, administrative and engineering functions of the Institute. Four major public health programmes of the Ministry of Health are also based at NIH.

With the notification of a new division of Field Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance at NIH, designation as focal point for IHR, availability of National Public Health Laboratory infrastructure and other collaborative initiatives with WHO, CDC and other partners to strengthen public health service delivery and implementation of global health security agenda, NIH is a the forefront of the national public health initiatives ad their effective implementation with provincial departments. In March 2015 NIH submitted a proposal/request for participation in the IANPHI program led by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which was accepted in November 2015.

IANPHI has a strength of over 100 member NPHI institutes from 88 countries, and is a robust and fully integrated global network of public health institutes. IANPHI facilitates alliances among NPHIs and with strategic partners such as WHO to catalyze support for and investment in national public health systems. IANPHI also develops benchmarks and tools that countries, NPHIs, and peer-assistance teams use to assess, develop, and improve NPHIs and optimize delivery of core public health functions.

IANPHI is a professional association for NPHI directors, fostering a new community of public health leadership dedicated to knowledge sharing, collaboration, and cooperation. By linking the assets and leadership of NPHIs around the world, IANPHI provides a platform for collective action and shared solutions in addressing public health challenges and opportunities. As a memberNIH will benefit from the knowledge and scientific expertise of similar organizations. The membership will help NIH strengthen capacity as a national leader in Public health and support Pakistan’s commitment towards fulfillment of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and its antecedent obligations. Evidence based, focused disease control policies and program driven by identified and relevant Public health priorities is a long term investment for overall health sector improvement and continuing development.

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Haji Ahmed Malik
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