Integration of Tobacco Control in Masters of Public Health Curricula of India

  • Published : 2014.07.30


Context: Tobacco is the single largest cause of preventable death among adults globally, as it is in India. Despite this alarming situation, there is very minimal inclusion of tobacco in formal education systems, including the medical discipline, in India. Aims: The present study analyzed the extent of integration of tobacco control related content in Masters of Public Health (MPH) curricula of various institutes in India. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted during January 2011 to May 2011 in all colleges of the country offering a MPH course. The colleges were enlisted using various internet search engines (Google Scholar, Pubmed, Medline), other published literature and snowball technique. A 50 items semi-structured questionnaire was designed, posted and e-mailed (followed by hard copy) to the Person-In-Charge of the MPH program. Statistical Analysis: Descriptive statistics were used to profile the tobacco control content in respective institutions. All data entry and analysis was conducted using SPSS (version 16) for windows. Results: The duration of the MPH course was two years in all institutes and had accreditation with some affiliated body. Tobacco related diseases were covered under 'non communicable diseases' section by every institute. However, a mere 41.4% of institute's had faculty who had received specialized training in tobacco control. More coverage was given to health risks and effects of smoking as compared to cessation interventions (5 A's), symptoms of withdrawal and pharmacological treatments. Only 25% of institutes were in process of introducing tobacco courses into their curricula. Lack of expertise and administrative barriers were cited as perceived major problems in inclusion of tobacco control in MPH curricula. Conclusions: It can be concluded that tobacco control is not receiving adequate attention in public health curricula in India. There is a need for coordinated efforts in the area of tobacco control so as to reduce morbidity and mortality from tobacco induced diseases.



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