The science and practice of protecting and improving the health of a community, as by preventive medicine, health education, control of communicable diseases, application of sanitary measures and monitoring of environmental hazards is called public health.
In the recent years, government has built up a vast health infrastructure equipped with trained manpower at different levels. At the village level, Primary Health Centers (PHCs) have been set up by the government. India also has a large number or hospitals run by voluntary agencies and the private, sector. These hospitals are manned by professionals and para-medical professionals [rained in medical, pharmacy and nursing colleges. There has been a significant expansion in the physical provision of health services since independence.
During 1951-2000, the number of hospitals and dispensaries increased from 9300 to 43300 arid hospital beds from 1.2 to 7.2 million. During 1951-2010 nursing personnel increased from 0.18 to 14.31 lakh and allopathic doctors from 0.62 to 6 lakh. Expansion of health infrastructure has resulted in the eradication of smallpox, guinea worms and the near eradication of polio and leprosy.
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