Skip Navigation

International Health

July 10, 2020

Johns Hopkins Receives Grant to Support Primary Health Care Services in India


The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support primary health care services in India. The grant will establish the India Primary Health Care Support Initiative (IPSI), which will support the Health and Wellness Center (HWC) program, India’s new initiative to strengthen comprehensive primary health care services. The grant is a $6.4 million award over three years and will cover five Indian states. The project is led by Krishna D. Rao, PhD, ’04, an associate professor in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School.

Strong primary health care (PHC) systems are associated with better access to health care and population health. In 2018, the government of India launched the Ayushman Bharat reform, which created PM-JAY, a national publicly funded health insurance scheme, and the HWC program. The HWC program is India’s main primary health care strategy and aims to establish 150,000 HWCs nationwide, bringing primary health care services closer to communities.

Through the IPSI project, researchers at the Bloomberg School will support primary health care in the five focus states by

  • promoting policy dialogue on primary health care with state governments, including introducing policy makers to exemplar PHC models in other Indian states and other countries by inviting experts from these states or organizing visits to these states and countries;
  • strengthening technical capacity in state health departments for implementing primary health care programs;
  • conducting implementation research studies to help state health departments improve implementation of primary health care programs, piloting different PHC service delivery models, and engaging in strategic purchasing mechanisms for integrating PHC with hospital care in the context of the PM-JAY insurance program; and
  • assisting in creating a national primary health care learning network. In the five focus states, JHU will help establish Health Policy Units, which will be housed in a local university or think-tank, and be the focal points for IPSI activities in the state.

The project team includes researchers with expertise in primary health care and health policy in India. In addition to Rao, Bloomberg School faculty working on the project include Sara Bennett, PhD, a professor in the Department of International Health; David Bishai, PhD, MPH, a professor in the Department of Population, Family Planning and Reproductive Health; and David Peters, MD, DrPH, MPH, the Edgar Berman Professor and Chair of the Department of International Health.