Following independence of India, Primary Health centres emerged on the basis of the recommendation of the Bhore committee (1946). With the expanding public health programmes and the nation building activities, people of the country are now expected to better realize the dictum “Prevention is better than cure”. With such a short history, modern public health as a science or service is still young in India and the need for an All India Association of Public Health was not actually thought of until the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health was established at Calcutta. However with the re-designation of Medical Services as Health Services and Establishment of Ministry of Health Services and establishment of Ministry of Health (now Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) at the Central and State Levels, the situation turned favourable for the establishment of the Indian Public Health Association as an all India body. It was inaugurated in 1956, the same year when the society for Medical Officers of Health in England celebrated their first centenary and the American Public Health Association was running 84th Year and the Canadian Association 46th year of their establishment.
A short resume of the circumstances, which finally led to the inauguration of the Indian Public Health Association, is given below along with its subsequent activities.
Birth of the Association:
The first attempt was made in 1936 by the late Dr. R. B. Lal, the then Director of the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Calcutta to organise a public health association on an all India Basis and started a society under the name. The Public Health Society of Calcutta, with the active collaboration of the Sister Institute at Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine. This society functioned for about 3 years and discontinued on the intervention of the World War II. It regularly held monthly meetings with a scientific forum for discussing papers on public health interest. These papers were regularly published in the Indian Medical Gazette and finally brought out as a volume of transaction at the end of the year. It may be mentioned here that at this time an association under the name Bengal Public Health Association was functioning under the chairmanship of Lt. Col. A. C. Chatterjee, the then Director of Public Health of the State of Bengal and had also a journal. This association also became defunct due to the World War II. Following the integration of Medical Care and public health under the directorate in the State, this Association was revived under the name “Association of the Staff of the West Bengal Services”. Similar services Association were, however, brought into being in other States also.