'Course on Essentials of Public Health Management Must be Made Compulsory'
| Onkareshwar Pandey - Editor in Chief - CEO, IOP - 15 Apr 2021


“A mandatory course on Essentials of Public Health Management should be made compulsory for all under graduate students in the country. And also Evidence-based policy making and passionate healthcare leadership will also be a new mantra for transforming healthcare management in India”, said Prof. Dr PR Sodani after taking over new VC and President of IIHMR University, a prestigious university in healthcare management and development sector) based at Jaipur. Previously,  Dr. Sodani has served as Officiating President, Acting President, Pro-President and Dean - Training at IIHMR University. Here is an Exclusive interview of Prof. Dr.Prahlad Rai Sodani by Onkareshwar Pandey, Editor-in-Chief, Indian Observer Post while he resumes his office as the 4th President of IIHMR University, Jaipur, Rajasthan.

First of all congratulations on joining as the 4th President of the IIHMR University. What are 3 main priority areas you would like to work on for improving healthcare management in India?

Prof. Prahlad Rai Sodani: The country needs leadership capacity building focusing on existing/emerging healthcare needs. The policy making also needs to be based on facts and evidenced. Therefore, in view of the situation, my priorities will be to accelerate leadership development in new and emerging areas of the health sector; strengthen research for evidence based policy making; and provide high quality education in healthcare management, which will in turn, lead to future capacity building in the healthcare sector.

You have extensively worked internationally with different public health systems. What are the opportunities and challenges of public health in Indian context? 

PRS: Because of size, volume and geography, the country has a major challenge in terms of expanding its reach and delivering cost-effective services. Out of the Pocket Expenditure is another challenging area. However, on the other hand, we have great potential (opportunity) in terms of improving precision, efficiency and effectiveness through application of Digital Health. Digital Health is the future of healthcare management as it contributes to cost reduction and quality improvement at the same time.

Under current challenges of public health, particularly in view of the second wave of COVID-19, what are the key areas that should be focused on in Indian context?

PRS: Creating more awareness about the causes and expected behaviour during a crisis is one area where significant efforts are required. Even the best facilities can’t guarantee good health unless there is an encouraging ecosystem. Therefore, behavioral change is must for driving long-term changes in the healthcare sector.

How universities and academic institutions can help in promoting effective healthcare in the country? 

PRS: Like courses on environmental science and entrepreneurship, a course on essentials of public health must be taught to all under-graduate students of the country. This will help them in preparing to deal with future pandemics and other healthcare related issues in future. 

“Evidence-based policy making and passionate healthcare leadership will also be new mantra for transforming healthcare management in India”

Please share with us about your university’s efforts in strengthening India’s public health management.

PRS: IIHMR has been a pioneering institution in creating a new discipline of hospital and health management. Our Alumni are working in renowned national and international organizations, hospitals and agencies. Since the last 36 years of our inception, we have been able to continuously add to research driven education and capacity building for the healthcare sector in India and beyond.

OP: What are your views on New Education Policy, particularly in reference to improving the quality of higher education?

PRS: New Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) offers a great degree of flexibility in designing and delivering effective curriculum. It also encourages efforts on promoting more interdisciplinary education as well as relevant employment competencies. At IIHMR University, we are preparing to adopt the NEP 2020 from the academic year 2021-2022. However, the adaptation would depend on contextual need.  

OP: What would be your message to stakeholders as 4th President of IIHMR University?

PRS: I thank all our stakeholders including Alumni, students, staff, faculty, corporate houses, hospitals, and heath and development sector organization. Under the challenging and fast changing time, we need to work collectively for the larger cause. Let’s join hands for better healthcare management of India in future.


Prof. Sodani, newly appointed President of IIHMR University, has more than 30-years long experience in the health sector. He earlier served the University as Officiating President (2020-21), Acting President (2017-18), Pro-President (2017-2020), and Dean Training (2010-2020). He has been professor of health systems and health economics and mentored faculty, students, and research scholars. While serving the different administrative positions, Professor Sodani has demonstrated academic leadership, visioning, policy planning, and strategic implementation. He has significantly contributed in creating organization culture, focusing on growth and development of the University. Professor Sodani earned a PhD in health economics and Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. Professor Sodani has been working extensively in health systems and policy, health economics and health financing and involved in teaching, training, research, consultancy and institutional responsibilities. Professor Sodani has been associated with the Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA for teaching the MPH program jointly offered by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and IIHMR University. Prof. Sodani is Associate Editor of the Journal of Health Management, an international peer reviewed journal published by SAGE Publications. Professor Sodani is also Secretary-General of the South-East Asia Public Health Education Institutions Network (SEAPHEIN) supported by WHO-SARO. He has recently published a book on Managing Quality in Health Care. He has published papers in refereed journals of national and international repute. He frequently writes blogs on emerging issues of the health sector. He has organised a number of national and international programs for health professionals on promoting Leadership, Strategic Management, Public Health Education, Health Economics, Health Financing, and Hospital Management Education.

Prof. Sodani had been focal point for finalizing project implementation plan (PIP) for World Bank assisted Rajasthan Health Systems Development Project of five-year duration for Department of Medical and Health, Government of Rajasthan during 2002-2004. The project focused on strengthening secondary level health care services in the State of Rajasthan. The project has been implemented in Rajasthan for improving infrastructure, quality of services, referral linkages, and other innovative interventions. Prof. Sodani was supported as Health Economist in conducting a Cost-benefit analysis of the World Bank assisted cataract blindness control programme in India for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India during 2004. During 2017-2020, Prof. Sodani has been Principal Investigator for PMA Agile/India supported by Johns Hopkins University, USA and funded by BMGF. Prof Sodani has also worked in the area of food fortification and served as Project Director for Technical Support Unit for Food Fortification supported by GAIN. He teaches Health Policy and Health Care Delivery System; and Health Economics in MBA and MPH (a cooperative program with Johns Hopkins University). He has supported in designing and conducting a large number of leadership training programmes for senior executives from national and international geographies. 

Photo by Raghu Prasad 


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(Onkareshwar Pandey is Founder, Editor in Chief & CEO, Indian Observer Post and former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor, (News), ANI. http://bit.ly/2mh7hih Email - SMS- 9910150119)





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