School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute for Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh

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PGIMER Chandigarh was established in 1962, and given “Institute of National Importance” status in 1967. Its mandate is to provide high quality patient care, attain self-sufficiency in postgraduate medical education, provide educational facilities for the training of personnel in all branches of health activity, and undertake basic community based research.

PGIMER Chandigarh’s field work began in 1975 with the establishment of the Rural Health Project in Ambala district, Haryana. The Department of Community Medicine was established in 1977, which then became the School of Public Health in 2004. Selected urban areas within Chandigarh were brought within the ambit of the field project in the mid 90s and rural areas in Punjab were included in 2006. The MPH program offered by the School of Public Health covers the areas of epidemiology, health management and health promotion.

The focus of field activities began with Maternal and Child Health, and expanded to include Communicable Diseases, Non-Communicable Diseases and Environmental Health. Surveillance activity began in 1996, and now covers 7 scattered ‘health posts’ across Chandigarh, Haryana and Punjab. Each household within these health posts is visited monthly to collect data on new births and deaths (verbal autopsies to ascertain causes of deaths), ANC and PNC information, care of children under 5 (immunization, growth and development, referral of sick children), contraceptive counselling to eligible couples, and care of chronic disease patients (diabetes, hypertension). The total population in all 7 health posts is approximately 250 000. PGI Chandigarh also provides primary care treatment, and referral services in all its health posts.

PGI Chandigarh’s School of Public Health has its own lab facilities to measure environmental factors, and carry out microbiological examinations. In addition to the collection of surveillance data, collection of biological material such as blood and urine, and collection of water and salt samples are important components of its public health field work. It is also looking to invest in a GPS system for its surveillance activities.

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