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Spotlight series: Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)

This week we turn our attention to Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) for our Spotlight series. The series profiles research organisations based in developing countries.


PHFI is an independent foundation, which adopts a broad, integrative approach to public health, tailoring its endeavours to Indian conditions whilst also bearing relevance to countries facing similar challenges and concerns. It was launched in 2006 as a response to the limited institutional capacity in India for strengthening training, research and policy development in the area of Public Health.

PHFI's Mission:
  • Developing the public health workforce and setting standards
  • Advancing public health research and technology
  • Strengthening knowledge application and evidence-informed public health practice and policy
PHFI is developing a multidisciplinary public health workforce (more than 20,000 trained so far) through a network of five Indian Institutes of Public Health (IIPHs) established in partnership with state governments. These institutes are in Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Delhi-NCR, and Bhubaneshwar and a fifth institute commencing in Meghalaya.

Advancing research, technology and innovations in public health, its research and implementation portfolio covers areas such as MCH, prevention of NCDs, tobacco control, mental health, nutrition, infectious diseases, access to affordable medicines, Universal Health Coverage and social determinants of health.

The foundation has a multidisciplinary team of researchers, with medical and non-medical backgrounds, who specialize in technical areas such as health economics, health systems and financing, health promotion, policy analysis, epidemiology, clinical research, genetics, nutrition, biostatistics, and demography among other issues.

From its inception, PHFI has been mandated to establish a strong national research network of public health and allied institutions which would undertake policy and programme relevant research that will advance public health goals in prioritized areas - with suitable international partnerships wherever useful and appropriate. Bringing ‘knowledge to action’ approach, PHFI is strengthening health systems, practice and policies working with central and state governments. PHFI was the technical secretariat for the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) report of High Level Expert Group (HLEG) commissioned by the Planning Commission, Government of India. It is the designated technical support unit to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) for enhancing Routine Immunisation coverage; AIDS/HIV prevention and advancing Allied Health Professional development. It supports the National Tobacco Control Programme and works with more than 10 states on advancing their health agenda.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has appointed PHFI as one of the Nodal Centres for Health Policy and System Research (HPSR). PHFI is also recognized as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (SIRO) by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India.

Research Spotlight

If you want to get to know Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)’s research visit their organisation profile. A selection of their publications are listed below. Please note that some of this research is published by Transform Nutrition of which PHFI is a partner.

Recommended Readings

Prevalence and correlates of childhood obesity in suburban area of Odisha: a cross sectional study
S. Pati; S. Swain; A.S. Chauhan; M.A. Hussain / Public Health Foundation of India, 2014
Developed countries are under the clutch of obesity, which is slowly inching towards developing countries. Thirty five million children in developing countries were estimated to be either overweight or obese and more than ninety milli...
Type of vegetarian diet, obesity and diabetes in adult Indian population
S. Agrawal; C.J. Millett; P.K. Dhillon; S.V. Subramanian; S. Ebrahim / Public Health Foundation of India, 2014
India is experiencing an alarming increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. The resulting morbidity, economic costs, reduced quality of life, and risk for complications make preventive strategies imperative. The contribution of t...
Nutritional profile of Indian vegetarian diets – the Indian Migration Study (IMS)
Public Health Foundation of India, 2014
In response to the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a reduced intake of fat, sugar and salt, and a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts, while mai...
Overcoming challenges to accelerating linear growth in Indian children
H.S. Sachdev / Public Health Foundation of India, 2011
Child undernutrition is measured by three anthropometric indices, underweight, stunting and wasting. Stunting represents long-term undernutrition, wasting defines acute undernutrition and underweight is a composite measure of long and...
Averting obesity and type 2 diabetes in India through sugar-sweetened beverage taxation: an economic-epidemiologic modeling study
Public Health Foundation of India, 2014
Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption is established as a major risk factor for overweight and obesity, as well as an array of cardio-metabolic conditions, especially type 2 diabetes. The individual risk of type 2 diabetes attrib...
Best practices in integrated child development services: some lesson for its restructuring and strengthening
A.K. Kathuria / Public Health Foundation of India, 2011
The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), India’s primary response to address malnutrition, is one of the world’s largest outreach child development programmes. Within the ICDS, some innovations have demonstrated s...
International success stories in reducing undernutrition: strategic choices, policy actions and lessons
S.C. Vir / Public Health Foundation of India, 2011
The overall burden of stunting in developing countries is estimated to have reduced from 40 per cent to 29 per cent. Reductions in undernutrition have not always demonstrated a direct relationship with economic development and progres...
Pro-nutrition agriculture in India: entry points and policy options
S. Mahendra; S. Kadiyala / Public Health Foundation of India, 2011
Nutrition security has acquired a sense of urgency in the wake of dramatic surge in food prices since 2005, the ensuing economic crisis and the stubbornly high food inflation rates. These concerns dovetail with the recent renewed emph...
Role of health systems in improving childhood nutrition in India
R.R. Ved; A. Jain / Public Health Foundation of India, 2011
The status of child undernutrition in India continues as an area of concern. Persistent high levels of undernutrition among women and children and its sluggish decline reflects the dichotomy in India’s growth story. The complexi...
Overcoming the challenges or urban food and nutrition security
Public Health Foundation of India, 2011
Indian economy is the world’s eleventh largest economy by nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, more that 230 million people remain undernourished. In this regard urban areas present their own challenges and despite the...
Addressing the unequal burden of malnutrition
S. Thirat; N.S. Subharwal / Public Health Foundation of India, 2011
In India, the poor are not uniformly disadvantaged. Nutrition data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-3 shows that malnutrition is particularly prevalent amongst the STs. Scs, other Backward Classes (OBC) and Muslims than o...
Enhancing optimal infant feeding practices in India
A. Gupta; J.P. Dadhich; S. Suri / Public Health Foundation of India, 2011
Appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices are critical to improving nutrition, child survival and development. Major killers of infants in India include neonatal infections, diarrhoea and pneumonia. The World Health ...
The 1000 day window of opportunity for improving child nutrition in India: insights from National-level data
P. Menon; V. Aguayo / Public Health Foundation of India, 2011
The first 1000 days of life, from conception to the end of the second year, is the critical window of opportunity fro addressing undernutrition in children. Growth faltering in infants, which eventually leads to undernutrition, occurs...