Indian Journal of Public Health

: 2014  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 135--136

Manpower planning in public health: Opportunities and challenges for India

Jayanna Krishnamurthy 
 Director, Quality Improvement, MNCH Services and Program, Karnataka Health Promotion Trust, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jayanna Krishnamurthy
Karnataka Health Promotion Trust, IT/BT Park, 5th Floor, #1-4, Rajajinagar Industrial Area, Behind KSSIDC Administrative Office, Rajajinagar, Bengaluru - 560 044, Karnataka

How to cite this article:
Krishnamurthy J. Manpower planning in public health: Opportunities and challenges for India.Indian J Public Health 2014;58:135-136

How to cite this URL:
Krishnamurthy J. Manpower planning in public health: Opportunities and challenges for India. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Jul 13 ];58:135-136
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With reference to the editorial article by Sharma, [1] I would like to congratulate the author on raising a very critical public health issue pertaining to the current times. I would like to share some observations and experiences that may very well complement the content in the published article.

The author has presented a historical perspective of public health education in the country and also has thrown light on the gaps that exist in the public health practice. The paper does not establish a clear link between the existing gaps in manpower planning or capacities and the conflicts within the sector of public health education (Preventive and Social Medicine [PSM] and Masters in Public Health [MPH]). Are the gaps attributable to the current status of education (PSM vs. MPH) or failure of the health systems to recruit the right person for the right job or capacitate the recruited person with the right preservice training? As we know that in our country, preservice or induction trainings of medical officers or the program officers in public health have not gained significant attention until too recently. [2]

The author makes recommendations of three cadres of public health personnel at community, district/state and country level. In my opinion, this kind of manpower structure does already exist in some or other way. In fact, there are too many health workers at every level and the current challenge has been to harmonize and integrate the efforts. How can we look at assessing the current capacities as against the programmatic needs and plan capacity building programs for the existing cadres? How do we strengthen systems to monitor and respond to the ongoing capacity building needs in a supportive way as there is evidence building up that supportive approaches evoke better capacities? [3] The scale at which government function is very large in our country and this poses an additional challenge in terms of planning capacity building programs, monitoring, and following up for simply large numbers of personnel that there are. Costs assume another dimension. Can the medical colleges and public health schools be held accountable for certain geographies, may be a district or two per institution, in terms of responding to the public health programmatic needs through trainings and follow up? Again much of all that we are discussing depends on how the leadership within the two Departments of Health and Departments of Medical Education come together and coordinate. My response ends with many more questions than answers just to highlight the point that the problem of manpower planning is indeed a critical and a complex issue that needs to be dealt at many levels and from many perspectives. Our program planners and policy makers have to take cognizance of this issue through a holistic, objective, and evidence-based angle.


1Sharma AK. Manpower planning in public health: What do we need to do? Indian J Public Health 2013;57:57-8.
2Negandhi P, Sharma K, Zodpey S. An innovative National Rural Health Mission capacity development initiative for improving public health practice in India. Indian J Public Health 2012;56:110-5.
3Children's Vaccine Program at PATH. Guidelines for Implementing Supportive Supervision: A Step-by-Step Guide with Tools to Support Immunization. Seattle: PATH; 2003.