The prestigious Christian Medical College, Vellore, in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state were among several other organizations and individuals who were honoured with the public health awards by the United Nations World Health Organization in India. The awards were announced on April 1 in New Delhi at the National Consultation on Food Safety, which was jointly organized by the WHO and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare of the Government of India, in view of the World Health Day, April 7, Tuesday. The Public Health Champions honoured for their sustained contribution to public health are SEWA Rural, the Community Health Department, the Christian Medical College, Vellore, the Biocon Foundation and Dr Vinod K. Paul, head of the Pediatrics Department of the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi. In a separate category of innovations, the awardees were Narayana Health and Ekjut, a WHO said in a release.
The Community Health and Development Department of the Christian Medical College, Vellore received recognition for providing primary care to the rural, urban and tribal communities in its vicinity. A training ground for medical, nursing and paramedical students, the department has set an example in community based service, public health teaching and research for several medical and public health institutions in India and south Asia.
"Public health is a challenging field and these awards are our way of saying thank you to the talented individuals and organizations that have dedicated themselves to this field. These awards are an attempt to recognize and honour the best in this field and also to encourage others to emulate them," Nata Menabde, WHO representative to India said. The rationale for recognizing public health champions is to honour efforts of both, individuals and institutions who have made an outstanding contribution to public health through advocacy for and involvement in impactful health policies and programmes with proven public health achievements and substantial improvement in equitable health outcomes in the country, she added.
The World Health Day which will be marked on April 7 is on the theme of food safety. The UN’s health agency says that unsafe food is linked to the deaths of an estimated 2 million people annually – including many children. Saying that food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances is responsible for more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhoea to cancers, WHO is asking to make food safe from farm to the plate. (Source: WHO)