Institutional Activities

IIT Madras partners with African Asian Rural Development Organization for International Online Training Program on public healthcare

The pandemic taught TN government to never compromise on public healthcare: Dr. J. Radhakrishnan, IAS, Principal Secretary to Govt, Dept of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu



CHENNAI, 23rd March 2022: Indian Institute of Technology Madras has partnered with African-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO) to conduct an International Online Training Program on ‘The Role of Innovative Primary Healthcare (PHC).’

Sponsored by AARDO, the training program is being organized by the Office of Global Engagement of IIT Madras. Around 150 people from 18 Asian and African Member countries are participating in this program, being held from 22nd to 25th March 2022.

AARDO is an inter-governmental organization that promotes cooperation among African-Asian countries and works towards objectives such as eradicating hunger, illiteracy, and poverty. Also, the organization celebrates its 60th year of presence.

Addressing the Inaugural session virtually on Tuesday (22nd March 2022), His Excellency Dr. Manoj Nardeosingh, Secretary-General, AARDO, said, “As a result of COVID pandemic, the economies have crippled and the impact is higher in rural areas of Africa and Asia. Science and technology can play a major role in addressing several issues such as poverty, climate change and hunger. It is important to leverage science and technology to establish an equitable healthcare system to provide inclusive healthcare to everyone, especially for those in rural areas.

The Primary Objectives of the Training Program include:

Ø  To discuss PHC situation in AARDO Member countries with a focus on India

Ø  To discuss the building of primary health care capacity in diverse settings in India and especially in the context of the COVID-19 situation

Ø  To elucidate the role of the public and private sector in PHC in India

Ø  The role of Artificial Intelligence in PHC in India through Health and Wellness Centres

Ø  To learn how Indian best practices could be replicated in AARDO member countries


Sharing the PHC experience of Tamil Nadu, Dr. J. Radhakrishnan, IAS, Principal Secretary to Government, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu, said, “The pandemic taught the Tamil Nadu government to never compromise on public healthcare. One of the key challenges regarding public healthcare that needs to addressed is that the healthcare programs need to be flexible. While there is a need for trained manpower to execute the public healthcare programs, around 35 per cent of the personnel are on contractual basis. This is another challenge that needs to be addressed.”

Further Dr. Radhakrishnan said, “Tamil Nadu was the first state to realise the importance of public healthcare. In 1897, the first Sanitary Commissioner was appointed and in 1923 the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine was formed in the State.”


Also speaking on the occasion, Special Invitee Dr. T.S. Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Government of Tamil Nadu, said, “Tamil Nadu government has been focusing on digitising several aspects of public healthcare. The main challenge is that these ideas have to be implemented in accordance with the requirements at the field level.”


The Course Components include:

Ø  Primary Health Care and Health for All: An Introduction

Ø  Approaches to Implementing Primary Health Care: Government’s efforts and PPP Model

Ø  Primary Health Care / Health Care Delivery System / Health Reforms & Health infrastructure in India

Ø  Innovative, cost-effective technologies in the Primary Health Care

Ø  Importance of Health Informative in Policy Planning to achieve sustainable Development

Ø  How technologies can play an important role in the reduction of the gap existing between developing and developed countries in the context of PHC.


Introducing the Office of Global Engagement and SIDDHI Webinar Series, Prof. Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean (Global Engagement), IIT Madras, said, Covid has reinforced the reality that the world is highly interconnected. As a result, many of the important societal problems have to be deliberated at a global scale.

Prof. V.R. Muraleedharan, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras, an eminent health policy expert and health economist, is the Coordinator of the event and also the moderator for three talks.

Prof. Sudarsan Padmanaban, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras, and Faculty Anchor of SIDDHI, welcomed the dignitaries. Dr. Karthik Raman, Associate Professor, Department of Biotechnology, IIT Madras, spoke on the occasion.

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