Health dept clarifies on IIPHS post-graduation programme

SHILLONG, June 3: In an attempt to douse the controversy over the post-graduation programme run by the Indian Institute of Public Health Shillong (IIPHS), the Health department issued a rejoinder on Friday, asserting that the degree is not granted by IIPHS but by Martin Luther Christian University, Shillong.
Reacting to a news item published in a section of the press (not The Shillong Times), the department said students are admitted and registered with MLCU. “The students are taught by faculty from both MLCU and IIPHS. Qualified IIPHS staff are adjunct faculty of MLCU and are shown as such in the MLCU prospectus. Adjunct faculty are permitted by UGC regulations. These academic collaborative arrangements are permitted by UGC, the MLCU Act 2005, as provided under Chapter II clause 7(c) and clause 8(19) and by resolution of the IIPHS Society,” the department said.
The Health department also said that IIPHS was established jointly by the Meghalaya government and the Public Health Foundation of India. It is now run by the IIPH Shillong Society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1983 of the Government of Meghalaya, on August 19, 2020. The chairperson of the society is the Principal Secretary (Health) and with board members including the DHS (MI) and renowned public health experts like Prof Srinath Reddy, President PHFI, among others.
“The institution has a mandate for public health research, and its projects are funded by international and national external grant agencies. The other mandate is to provide public health training for state government health cadres. In consideration of its mandate to contribute to public health in Meghalaya, the state government has provided physical facilities to IIPH Shillong. These facilities are housing high-level research laboratories and classrooms for public health education,” it said.
The Health department also said IIPHS has contributed to the management of the pandemic through rigorous mathematical modeling, providing support to the system. The data and research arrived at, had been instrumental for the state in taking Science-based adaptive approaches for effective COVID-19 management in the state.
“It is also to be mentioned that the IIPHS studies on COVID vaccine hesitancy has not only been helpful in focusing on problem areas but was also appreciated by the Hon’ble High Court of Meghalaya, as positive measures taken by the government to secure the safety of people of the state, during the second wave of the pandemic,” the rejoinder said.
“The COVID pandemic taught the entire world about the importance of public health, and we need to have a collaborative approach between healthcare service providers, researchers and public health experts. Implementation of public health programs without proper research and evidence-based policies and programmes can have undesirable outcomes for governments and the people. This is one more factor to exemplify the importance of research-based public health institution,” the department said.
“The University status is needed for granting of degrees, hence this interim arrangement of IIPHS with MLCU along similar lines of the NEIGRIHMS, who tied up with the NEHU for their medical degrees. In the meantime the state government is in the process of upgrading the IIPHS into a university. The proposal for setting up of this public health university on the lines of IIPH Gandhinagar is under active consideration of the state government to be placed before the Cabinet for final decision on this,” the department said.

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