Q: What is IANPHI?

A: IANPHI – the International Association of National Public Health Institutes – is a global alliance of public health leaders and partners dedicated to promoting the work and development of national public health institutes. 

Q: What is a national public health institute?

A: A national public health institute (NPHI) is a science-based governmental institution that provides national leadership and expertise for a country’s efforts to protect and improve health. 

Q: Why NPHIs?

A: Strong NPHIs and collaboration among NPHIs are vital for national and global public health and health security. 

Strong and well-supported NPHIs are needed to conduct and coordinate the essential functions that are the cornerstone of public health systems. Dispersal of public health functions among several ministries, sub-ministries, and departments constrains countries in addressing public health crises as well as day-to-day activities and can also lead to costly bureaucratic redundancies. Aggregating and centralizing public health functions in an NPHI facilitates rational, science-based policy making and resource allocation based on a country’s own priorities. 

NPHIs are needed to create a central focus for public health career development and build national capacity. NPHIs provide a nucleus of public health professionals to carry out core functions and boost a country’s ability to turn program funding into services and ultimately into improved health outcomes. 

NPHIs are needed to respond to acute events and major health crises. In Canada and Hong Kong in 2003, the SARS outbreak exposed shortcomings in public health systems, leadership, collaboration, and capacity. The response was to create NPHIs (Public Health Agency of Canada; Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection) with responsibility, authority, and accountability for public health response and health protection. 

Q: Who are IANPHI’s members?

A: IANPHI’s member institutes span the globe, from Colombia’s Instituto Nacional de Salud to the UK’s Health Protection Agency, South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and the China CDC. For a full listing of member NPHIs, click here

Q: What does IANPHI do?

A: IANPHI is a catalyst for NPHI development and collaboration.

IANPHI spearheads improvements in NPHIs through direct grant support to low-resource countries. From technical assistance visits to extended NPHI development initiatives, IANPHI works with ministries of health to build and enhance public health institutes at the national level. By working collaboratively with low-resource countries to develop and improve NPHIs, IANPHI aims to optimize delivery of core public health functions and improve public health systems worldwide. 

IANPHI advocates for NPHI enhancement and proliferation through research and service. In a landmark benchmarking effort, IANPHI is systematically characterizing the community and range of NPHIs to provide a basis for assessing and supporting their development. The cornerstone of this effort is publication of The Framework for Creation and Development of NPHIs. Other activities include NPHI surveys and case studies.

IANPHI also promotes linkages among members to share solutions through global and regional meetings, leadership development activities, communication services, and research seed grants.