WHO Country Office for India instituted awards for Public Health Champions in 2015. The first awards were given out at the national consultation commemorating the World Health Day 2015 on 1 April 2015 at New Delhi.

The award winners were: SEWA Rural; Community Health Department, Christian Medical College, Vellore; Biocon Foundation and Dr Vinod K. Paul, AIIMS for sustained contribution to public health. In the category of innovation, the awardees were Narayana Health and Ekjut.

The award winners for 2016 are: Dr Paresh Vamanrao Dave, Government of Gujarat; Mahan Trust, Maharashtra; and SEARCH, Gadchiroli, Maharashtra for sustained contribution to public health. In the category of innovation, the awardees were Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, Sulabh International and Sangath, Goa.

The rationale for recognizing public health champions is to honour and recognize efforts of both, individual(s) and institution(s) who have made an outstanding contribution to public health through advocacy for and involvement in impactful health policies, strategies and programmes with proven public health achievements and substantial improvement in health outcomes with equity in the country.


The awards comprise two categories:

  • Sustained contribution to the field of public health, and
  • Innovation

The awards are for both, individuals as well as institutions, in each of the two categories.

Criteria for the awards

The scope of the awards covers both , individuals and institutions who/which have contributed to greatly advancing population and personal services and inter-sectoral actions. In addition, contributions that have assisted WHO in performing any one of our six core functions (as below) are also covered within the scope of these awards:

  • Providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed;
  • Shaping the research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge;
  • Setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation;
  • Articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options;
  • Providing technical support, catalysing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity; and
  • Monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends