A two-day 3rd Public Health Symposium organised at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), has recommended three initiatives to the government, regarding health policy improvement. A PGI statement said that experts recommended to establish a task-force by drawing experts from various ministries, nodal officers, private sector, civil society and external experts including the World Health Organisation to identify policies that could have possible impact on health and prepare a white paper. At the symposium, it has also been recommended to bring all inter-sectoral initiatives under one umbrella of ‘Health in All Policies’ (HIAP). “To actively engage academic institutions and professional bodies such as the Indian Public Health Association and Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine to prepare a road-map and to support and monitor its roll out,” the statement said.
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During the symposium, several panelists discussed the social determinants of health on Friday. Saurabh Jain, director, Swachh Bharat mission, said, “Sanitation is a major social determinant of health and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, initiated in October 2014, is a small step towards achieving it.” He added that about 515 cities, including Chandigarh, are now free of open defecation. In her talk, Dr. Atreyi Ganguly, national professional officer, WHO India, stated that health promotion combines diversities and requires public participation, and that health strategies need to be built as per the regional requirements.
Dr G B Singh, state programme officer, NPCDCS, Punjab, emphasized the importance of peer education in improving health of the community for chronic and non-chronic diseases and noted that: “Until and unless we are able to carry the messages to the communities, all other efforts that were taken will be useless,” he said. Several other experts spoke during the symposium which concluded on Friday, officials said.