Module Descriptions - PG Diploma in Public Health

Below are descriptions of the six modules required for this qualification. Short courses are offered for most of the modules.

Introducing Public Health: Its Basis And Scope (SPH 730)
This module introduces frameworks for understanding and analysing Public Health. It provides an orientation to students coming from the clinical fields of nursing and other health and welfare-related fields to the conceptual and theoretical vocabulary, resources and evolution of Public Health, and to the health systems arena. It also provides a foundation on the biological basis of disease for those from a non-clinical background. Topics include:
• An overview of the field of Public Health.
• The biological basis of disease and the social determinants of disease.
• The changing patterns of disease.
• The evolution of public health practice.
• Comparative health systems.
• Applying a Public Health approach.
MODE OF DELIVERY: Distance learning and Summer School short course in Semester 1. ASSESSMENT: Two assignments.
One prescribed text: Lucas, A. O. & Gilles, H. M. (2003). Short Textbook of Public Health Medicine For the Tropics. 4th ed. London: Arnold Publishers.

Population Health and Development: A Primary Health Care Approach I (SPH 732)
This module introduces the conceptual and operational underpinnings of the Primary Health Care approach, with a view to providing equitable health services in developing country contexts.
Topics include:
• The inter-relationship of health, development and Primary Health Care.
• The burden, distribution and pattern of ill-health in the world.
• The political, social and economic context of health and disease.
• The Primary Health Care approach.

MODE OF DELIVERY: Distance learning and Summer School short course in Semester 1. ASSESSMENT: Two assignments.
One recommended text: Werner, D. & Sanders, D. (1997). Questioning the Solution: The Politics of Primary Health Care and Child Survival. Palo Alto, California: Health Wrights.

Descriptive Epidemiology (SPH 731)
This module has been developed to provide a basis for quantifying, analysing and prioritising the health problems and needs of communities/health service users. It serves as an introduction to descriptive epidemiology.
Topics include:
• Definition, scope, uses and application of epidemiology.
• Historical overview of the development of epidemiology.
• Practical disease concepts foundational to epidemiology.
• Descriptive biostatistics.
• Epidemiological health information.
• Outbreak investigation.
• Screening.
• Disease and injury surveillance.
• Interpretation of data.
• Presentation of health information.
• Reporting epidemiological events.

MODE OF DELIVERY: Distance learning in Semester 2 with Summer School short course in Semester 1.
ASSESSMENT: Two assignments

Management Strategies for Public Health I (SPH 735)
This module provides an orientation to the operational competences required to manage Public Health services.
Topics include:
• The District Health System
• The concept of management
• Health systems management
• Managing people
• Managing conflict
• Leadership, motivation and building teams
• The Planning Cycle
• Project planning
• Information for planning and management
• Managing resources, e.g. essential drugs, personnel
• Developing and interpreting budgets

MODE OF DELIVERY: Distance learning in Semester 1.
ASSESSMENT: Two assignments.

Health Promotion for Public Health I (SPH 733)
This module provides an orientation to the conceptual and theoretical vocabulary, resources and evolution of Health Promotion in the context of population health. Topics include:
• Health Promotion concepts and principles
• The determinants of health.
• The development of Health Promotion.
• The significance of the Ottawa Charter.
• The Settings Approach to Health Promotion.
• Models of change in Health Promotion.
• Programme development and planning in Health Promotion.
• Communication strategies for Health Promotion.
• Evaluation strategies

MODE OF DELIVERY: Distance learning in Semester 2 and Winter and Summer School short courses.
ASSESSMENT: Two assignments.

Monitoring and Evaluation for Health Services Improvement I (SPH 734)

This module introduces programme monitoring and evaluation strategies which are essential research skills for Public Health professionals in the health services. Topics include:
• The role of monitoring and evaluation in district health management.
• Monitoring and evaluation – strategies and tools.
• Key concepts and issues in monitoring and evaluation.
• Data analysis and interpretation.
• Case studies of monitoring and evaluation activities in health.

MODE OF DELIVERY: Distance learning in Semester 2 and short course at Winter School in Semester 2.
ASSESSMENT: Two assignments.

Remember that PGD graduates do not automatically qualify for the MPH. You need to apply for the MPH and compete with other candidates

School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape
Robert Sobukwe Road, Bellville 7535, Republic of South Africa
Tel: +27-21 - 959 2809 | Fax: +27- 21 - 959 2872 | Email: mppetersen@uwc.ac.za