1. Overview

Individual lives overlap with public life in time and space in all organized societies i.e., occupy common spaces and utilize common resources and also get exposed to shared environment. Hence public health can get affected by non-specific environmental factors like quality of air that we breathe, of water we drink, of food we eat, etc. This can be aggravated by socio-economic and cultural features of the sections of society as well as by certain government policies. Responsible citizens owe it to our government to keep the environment pristine as much as possible. Our per capita energy consumption also has to match the energy demands for sustainable development. The curriculum aims at providing solutions to some of the grand challenges facing the nation.

2. Objectives and Expected outcome

  • The scope of and perspectives on Public Health in a developing nation like India.
  • Awareness of public health hazards posed by our environment, including physical features such as global warming, chemical features such as automobile emissions, contaminants in drinking water, and biological features such as putrefying organic matter.
  • Impact of governmental policies and urbanization on degradation of the environment.
  • Education, public- private partnership, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and change in management as way forward towards improving the Public Health thresholds.

Every Semester, teaching will be spread over 16 weeks including two weeks for review.

3. Themes & Sub-themes (28 +14 periods over a 14 week period) + 2 weeks for projects

Understanding linkages between Environment and Public Health- Effect of quality of air, water and soil on health; Perspective on Individual health – Nutritional, socio-cultural and developmental aspects, Dietary diversity for good health; Human developmental indices for public health.

Global warming – Agricultural practices (chemical agriculture) and Industrial technologies (use of non-biodegradable materials like plastics, aerosols, refrigerants); Manifestations of Climate change on Public Health.

Policies and practices with respect to wild life protection, water and air quality, industrial and household waste disposal

Epidemiological perspectives – Disease burden and surveillance; Alternative systems of medicine – Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH); Universal Immunization Programme (UIP); Reproductive health-Youth Unite for Victory on AIDS (YUVA) programme of Government of Delhi.

(a)Infectious diseases – Role of sanitation and poverty using TB, diarrhoea as examples (b) Non-communicable diseases – Role of Lifestyle and built environment, Diabetes and Hypertension.

4. Project works

  • Examining regional cuisines for dietary diversity.
  • Examining National Health Survey data e.g. National Family Health Survey, Annual Health surveys.
  • Survey of Immunization coverage in a particular area.
  • To establish if there is a relation between GDP and life expectancies/Health parameters.
  • Survey of Respiratory allergies.
  • Examining household/institutional/market/neighborhood wastes and their disposal mechanism.
  • Survey of households along the Yamuna River for life expectancy and common ailments and diseases.
  • Definition of Health – links between GDP and health.
  • Determine the extent of use of paper and suggest means of reducing the use of paper and paper products.
  • Smoking and lung cancer.
  • Documentation of festival/fasting and mapping of agro-ecological cycles.
  • Definitions of poverty – Governmental policies on poverty mitigation – facts and fiction.
  • Health indicators vis- a-vis income groups.
  • Deforestation and flooding – myth or fact?
  • Estimation of water-demands of a city/town.
  • Adapting water-harvesting technology – survey, sustainability.
  • Quantitative relation between bio-resource and consumer products – bathing soap, paper, furniture & construction as related to trees.
  • Differential access to water – demand and actual access.
  • Supply, demand and gap filling – role of ground-water.
  • Transport losses in water supply.
  • Storage losses in food grain.
  • Changing Human Development Indices over time – in India/other countries.
  • Diwali festival related respiratory problems.
  • Study of sewage treatment plants.
  • Social perspective – child-health and small scale industries.
  • Document infant immunization.
  • Studying effective programme implementation – Reproductive health.
  • Opportunities of physical activities in neighborhood – Study of built environment – Land-use pattern in Urban Settlements.
  • Air quality in Delhi.
  • Changing transport means in Delhi – CNG.
  • Rituals and environmental pollution e.g. water, noise, air.
  • Dialogue with doctors and paramedics.
  • Methods of consultation of doctors.
  • Population pressure/growth and resource degradation.
  • Nutritional disorders/deficiencies in different populations groups-surveys.
  • Compose and enact street plays. Create posters/ audio-video materials/ greeting cards highlighting environmental issues.
  • Collecting information on medicinal plants.
  • Collecting information from elders and other prominent persons.
  • Occupational hazards and health issues.
  • Water-borne diseases – exacerbation by irrigation projects.
  • Alternate medicines – use of therapies for different diseases categories.
  • Lifestyle diseases.
  • Pollutants in air/water/soil and their effect on health.
  • FDI in specific manufacturing Industries and local health problems.
  • Differential pricing policy of petroleum products and environmental pollution – case studies.
  • Wildlife Protection Act – case studies.
  • Bhopal Gas Tragedy- Science, Laws and Public Health

5. Reading List
Printed Material

Indian Academy of Paediatrics. (2011). Guidebook on Immunization. Minkoff, E., & Baker, P. (2003). Biology Today: An Issues Approach (3 ed.). Garland science. (pp 326-264, 612-640, 688 – 702).

Park, K. (2011). Preventive and Social Medicine. Benarsi Das Publications. (pp. 16- 19, 24-27)

Sadgopal, M., & Sagar, A. (2007, July-September). Can Public Health open up to the AYUSH Systems…..and give space for People’s Views of Health and Disease? mfc bulletin, 45-50.

Sekhsaria, P. (2007). Conservation in India and the Need to Think Beyond ‘Tiger vs. Tribal’. Biotropica, 39(5), 575-577.

UNDP. (2013). The Human Development Report, The Rise of the South: Human Progress in Diverse World. New York: UNDP. (also available in Hindi)

Vir, S. C. (Ed.). (2011). Nutrition Related Non communicable diseases (1 ed., Vols. Public Health Nutrition in Developing Countries Part -2). Woodhead Publishing India.

Wani, M., & Kothari, A. (2007, July 15 ). Protected areas and human rights in India: the impact of the official conservation model on local communities. Policy Matters, 100-114.

Supplementary Material

G. Tyler Miller and Scott E. Spoolman ‘Environmental Science’ (2012) 13th edition First Indian Reprint Chapters 14-17 (total pages 108) Cengage Learning, New Delhi. www.cengage.co.in


UIP – Universal Immunization policies

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