India Alliance Fellows Meet 2019

India Alliance Fellows Meet 2019

IPH Faculty and Wellcome Trust DBT India Alliance research fellows Upendra Bhojani and Pragati Hebbar attended the 9th Annual Fellows’ Meet in Bengaluru from June 13 – 15th 2019. The annual fellows meet serves as a platform to bring together India Alliance Fellows and other grant recipients from prestigious research institutes together to foster collaboration, support and exchange of ideas across a wide range of research areas.

Both Pragati and Upendra presented their work during the first year of their fellowships through scientific poster sessions. Upendra Bhojani was invited to present his work and research supported by India Alliance during this meet. Upendra gave a talk titled “Commercial Determinants of health: the political economy of tobacco in India”, available for viewinghere.

Given the present focus on and the growing concern of the role of corporations in promoting products and choices that are mass produced and are in general detrimental to health, Upendra’s talk was relevant and well-received.

At the Fellows meet, new committee members were introduced. Wellcome Trust and DBT India Alliance also launched new grant opportunities such as the Team Science Grants and grants to establish virtual Clinical/Public Health Research Centres, in order to provide a platform for collaborating and strengthening important research initiatives in India.

Poster presentation at GCIS, Dhaka

Poster presentation at GCIS, Dhaka

Dr. Pragati Hebbar presenting her research poster at GCIS, Dhaka

Centre of Excellence for Science of Implementation and Scale-up (CoE-SISU), BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University and UNICEF Bangladesh hosted a Global Conference on Implementation Science and Scale-Up at Dhaka from 29th June 2019 to 01st July 2019.

The conference aimed to showcase the role of Implementation Science in promoting a culture of evidence-based health and other social development programmes, policies, and practices. It was an excellent attempt to bridge the gap between research and policy making. 

Dr. Pragati Hebbar, PhD scholar and Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance Fellow from the Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru participated and presented a poster on ‘Anusthana’ – implementation research for scaling up tobacco control policy interventions.

The GCIS was a very good platform to network with like-minded researchers and engaging policymakers to listen to the success stories through the use of Implementation Sciences to influence programme, policy, and practice. 

Safer conception among HIV affected people

Safer conception among HIV affected people

Dear All,

Dr. Renee Heffron, member of the faculty of Global Health and Epidemiology within the International Clinical Research Center at the University of Washington is visiting IPH on the 6th of February (Wednesday). Her research, teaching, and mentoring focuses on advancing the field of HIV prevention and the intersection with reproductive health. She would be delivering a talk on the topic ‘ HIV prevention among people affected by HIV when they desire pregnancy: safer conception’. 
For HIV serodiscordant couples (in which one partner is living with HIV and one partner is not), having condom less sex to become pregnant can put the HIV-negative member at risk for acquiring their partner’s HIV infection. Safer conception strategies are able to minimize this risk, especially when they are used in combination. In this talk, Dr. Heffron will describe the situation faced by HIV serodiscordant couples and individuals affected by HIV when they desire pregnancy, describe interventions that can minimize sexual HIV transmission risk when pregnancy is desired, and present results from a recent pilot program in Kenya.
You are invited to attend the talk in person or via zoom


Dr. Renee Heffron 



Member of the faculty of Global Health and Epidemiology




3:00 pm – 4.00 pm


Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru

3009, II-A Main, 17th Cross, KR Rd, Siddanna Layout,
Banashankari Stage II, Banashankari,
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560070

Earlier FCRA statement

Recent developments with respect to renewal of IPH’s FCRA registration

The Institute of Public Health Bengaluru (IPH) has been a pioneer in cutting-edge applied research and public health training programmes in health systems and health policy in Karnataka. IPH is registered as a legal entity under the Karnataka Society Registration Act. It has been working for over ten years to further health status of communities in Karnataka and India. Recently IPH commemorated a decade of work with a campaign: #10yearsofIPH (click here to read/watch a short video of our work).

What does IPH do?

We have received national and international recognition for our work on various aspects of strengthening health systems, enhancing health equity and contributing to better health policies in Karnataka and India.

    • Research: Researchers from IPH have published data-driven and evidence-based research papers in journals of national repute including Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, Indian Journal of Medical Research (of the ICMR), Economic and Political Weekly etc., as well as international peer-reviewed scientific journals such as the Lancet, British Medical Journal and various others.
    • Teaching public health: Faculty at IPH teach public health courses in various reputed public health institutions in Karnataka and other states, as well as provide highly rated e-learning courses in public health across the country, especially to government health staff, as well as to students in various countries in Africa and South Asia. IPH’s blended learning programme has been featured at various international workshops as a prime example of well-designed and relevant public health content.
  • Various public health achievements: Some of our major achievements over the past 10 years include training more than 1,800 government officials, facilitating public health policy reforms such as, a ban on gutka, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes and hookah in Karnataka. In recognition of IPH’s scientific leadership, many faculty members of IPH have been nominated as members of state- and national level committees advising governments such as the National Health Systems Resource centre, Karnataka State Health Systems resource Centre, Karnataka Knowledge Commission, Karnataka State Anti Tobacco Cell, and an Official Delegation of Government of India for the Seventh Session of Conference of Parties under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

What is FCRA and what is IPH’s stand on FCRA?

FCRA is an Indian law that regulates and monitors the flow of voluntary contributions/grants from non-Indian sources to NGOs in India. It is managed by the Home Ministry. It is the law of the land and IPH respects this law. Since February 2010, IPH has been registered under this law and has complied with all requirements of this law till date. This is a matter of public record.

What are the recent developments related to IPH and FCRA?

It appears that we have become victim of our success. In the end of October (2016), we were informed through a one-line email from the FCRA authority of refusal to renew our FCRA registration. In November 2016, a newspaper report carried in The Times of India labeled us as “anti-national”. This was a rude shock for us at IPH as we have not engaged in ANY activity remotely related to weakening the government or the State. In contrary, IPH’s work is widely held up within the medical and public health community as being an example of close collaboration with several state and national government agencies, which in turn have acknowledged and appreciated our work in public health.  

Why does IPH need foreign funds?

IPH works on health research, designing cutting-edge public health training programmes and in working closely with Governments  and communities to improve healthcare. IPH competes with leading research organisations and Universities across the world in obtaining competitive research grants. While we also work with various Indian funding agencies, our research requires us to work with leading researchers and academic organisations across several countries. In fact, across various scientific disciplines, international research collaboration is favoured and encouraged in order to advance science and policy. While IPH does not solely rely on foreign funds, this is an important source of research funding for the Institute as is the case with any public health or scientific research institute in the country or elsewhere.

Why is IPH being denied FCRA registration?

Unfortunately, we have not been provided ANY reason for the refusal to renew our FCRA registration. On repeated emails and formal inquiries, no reason has been provided yet and we continue to sincerely appeal to the Government to provide us with reasons for this refusal.

In the lack of any reason forthcoming, we are forced to believe that vested industry interests could have played role in maligning and misrepresenting IPH’s work. Conveying our concerns, we have made a sincere evidential appeal to concerned authority adducing facts and figures about IPH’s public health activities over time. Unfortunately, this appeal was also denied without providing any information on the reasons.

How has the FCRA registration refusal affected IPH?

We are currently in an acute financial crisis following the refusal. Many staff are taking voluntary salary cuts to ensure we are able to save existing resources. Later this month, with a heavy heart, we will have to let go of over half of our staff, a vibrant and passionate group of young and committed public health professionals due to this.

How can I help or support IPH and its work?

In this tough time, we request you to stand with us and support us to tide this crisis and come out stronger. We value your support now more than ever and hope you will help us in these difficult times. If you would like to make a financial contribution to help IPH tide over this crisis, visit support us page 

What next? And why support IPH?

With no other way to go forward, we have appealed to the Karnataka High Court (see article in Economic Times). We shall not allow the industry or any misunderstanding/mischaracterisation of our work to affect our work in strengthening health systems in India.

Encouraging academia and building scientific temper is an important principle enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Academic and research organisations such as IPH are an important part of a strong health system, producing good quality research and contributing data and evidence on strengthening public health. The world-over, there is a recognition that well-designed and relevant research is an important contributor to strengthening health policy.

We strive to continue working closely in contributing to public health in India. And given our confidence in our work and a clear conscience, we believe this shall pass. Meanwhile we appeal to friends, colleagues and well-wishers to #StandwithIPH.


‘Move to remove transgender from mental illness long-awaited, say city doctors’- IPH staff quoted in BangaloreMirror

‘Move to remove transgender from mental illness long-awaited, say city doctors’- IPH staff quoted in BangaloreMirror



Aneesha Ahluwalia, staff at Institute of Public Health, said that putting transgender under mental disorders classification is not the right thing to do scientifically and has some serious implications.

“According to a 2011 census, India has 4.9 lakh transgenders and it is estimated that this number is likely to be six to seven times more. If we look at it, transgenderism is a biological phenomenon affecting the reproductive health of the individual. As rightly pointed out in the report, transgenders face stigmatisation, which can lead to stress, depression and other mental disorders. If we consider transgenderism as a mental illness, it has serious consequences. It is a well-known fact that transgenders fall under the high-risk groups for diseases like HIV. Since mental disorders fall under the purview of psychiatrists, other health-related conditions may remain undiagnosed and may cause further deterioration in their health,”.

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