The overall objective of this collaboration is to improve child health by focusing on key interventions such as vaccine-preventable diseases and building public health capacity in India.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) through its Department of International Health and the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) will collaborate with the Dr. Pradip and Kumkum Ghosh Foundation, and the International Institute of Innovation and Technology (I3T) to establish a Johns Hopkins India Maternal and Child Health Center. The mandate of this Center is to support efforts to achieve the child health-related United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in India. To help achieve this ambitious goal, the Center will focus on accelerating the introduction and effective implementation of existing child health interventions in India, with a particular focus on vaccine-preventable diseases and difficult-to-reach populations. Building public health capacity in India, and in West Bengal in particular, is a key outcome of this partnership. Model programs developed and established in West Bengal can be scaled up to other states and the entire country. The proposed approach is based on knowledge translation principles, which harnesses the strength of scientific evidence to inform health policy and practice. In order to sustain these goals, it is critical to build public health and technical capacity in India.
Incorporating Knowledge from Immunization Programs & Public Health Successes
Immunization systems are among the strongest and most successful health programs around the world. Vaccines were central to the global eradication of smallpox. Vaccines have also contributed substantially to the reduction in child mortality in India, and the country has made encouraging progress toward introducing new vaccines, eliminating polio and increasing routine immunization coverage. This progress has not occurred within a vacuum. Investments in research and advocacy activities have helped to overcome many of the “know-do gap” challenges in India. The proposed Center will draw upon the unique experience of immunization programs in India and around the world. There are several renowned immunization and nutrition researchers at JHSPH, as well as social scientists and health systems policy faculty, with expertise in vaccines and child health issues who will be facilitators and mentors for the Center.
Below are illustrative activities that could be undertaken by the proposed Center, along with overall projected budgets and timelines:
Timeline for Research Activities
JHSPH has a rich tradition of offering and supporting academic training in areas of public health, with topics ranging from human rights to infectious diseases modeling, from vaccine science to public health economics. This Center will conduct assessments of public health competencies to support and implement competency-based public health training model in West Bengal and provide assistance and support to local instructors to conduct academic training sessions in-person or via online courses modeled after courses taught at the JHSPH. The school will further strengthen academic and research expertise in public health through capacity building by recruiting qualified candidates to pursue doctoral degrees at the JHSPH. The Center would specifically focus on recruiting those who would return to India to teach at public health institutions related to I3T. Two illustrative examples of didactic courses are:
Timeline for Capacity Building and Training
The International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), in collaboration with the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Office of External Affairs, will prepare annual reports, outlining progress on each of the activities listed above. These reports will include updated timelines, as well as updates on budget allocations for each area.