• Welcome to the School of Public Health

    Welcome to SOPH, part of the Faculty of Community Health Science (CHS) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). This website will introduce you to our vision, our staff and our teaching and research programmes.

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  • SOPH Academic Programme

    Popular in South Africa and other African countries for its flexible, modular, part-time design and growing array of distance learning materials.

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  • Annual Summer and Winter Schools

    Probably the largest continuing education programmes in Public Health in Africa, which has trained over 12000 participants since 1992.

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  • SARCHI Chairs

    We host two South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChi) Chairs

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  • Open Education Resources in Public Health

    We have lodged as OER several of our distance learning modules and case studies to share our resources and expertise and to build the network for public health education in Africa and the global South.

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  • Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health

    Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health

    The PGD in Public Health aims to provide graduates with an overview of Public Health, with an emphasis on health sector transformation, district health services, and Primary Health Care: Prioritise health needs at population level; Design, implement and evaluate Public Health programmes.

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  • Masters in Public Health (coursework, mini-thesis)

    Masters in Public Health (coursework, mini-thesis)

    The Programme is designed for a range of health and welfare professionals and managers from middle to senior level, at district, provincial or national levels, staff of NGO’s and academic research contexts.

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  • Masters in Public Health (full thesis)

    Masters in Public Health (full thesis)

    The Programme is designed for a range of health and welfare professionals and managers from middle to senior level, at district, provincial or national levels, staff of NGO’s and academic research contexts.

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  • PhD in Public Health

    PhD in Public Health

    Currently offered by thesis only, which implies a very large research project, either written up in a full thesis, or in a format of manuscripts with a beginning and ending sections forming part of the whole thesis. This work should contribute new and original knowledge to your chosen field.

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  • Winter School / Summer School

    Winter School / Summer School

    Exposes health and health-related workers to the latest thinking in Public Health and enables them to exchange ideas on improved planning and implementation of Primary Health Care in the changing environment of the developing world.

guide cover

 

Writing team: Prof Uta Lehmann and Ms Penny Morrell in consultation with Ms Marlene Petersen, Ms Bridget Basson, Ms Teresa de Lima, Ms Sidiqa Abbas, Ms Nikki Schaay and Dr Ruth Stern

Download Full Guide
Building public health capacity through a short course professional development programme. A guide

The School of Public Health (SOPH) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) has been hosting continuing professional development short course programmes since its inception in 1992. Initially held twice a year, and now once a year (every June/July when university students are on vacation) we offer a three-week ‘Winter School’ programme comprising 18 to 25 courses, most a week long. Through this programme, between 250 and 500 health and health-related workers are exposed to the latest thinking in public health each year, enabling them to discuss and exchange ideas on improved planning and implementation of primary health care, district health systems and health equity. To date, more than 10,000 health care practitioners and managers from all over South Africa and many other African countries have attended at least one, and often many, short courses. Additionally a number of these courses are also used as teaching blocks for our Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. In this way our postgraduate students who are studying at a distance come to our SOPH and interact with staff and fellow students – as well as the practitioners attending short courses for professional development purposes. While we aim to cover our costs, our Winter School is not an income generator. Our primary purpose and rationale remains to offer professional development opportunities for role players in the public sector (be they managers, frontline providers or activists) at the lowest possible cost, contributing to the strengthening of primary health care, district health systems and health equity in the country and in Africa more generally.

In the past few years we have often been asked by colleagues in schools of public health and similar institutions, both in South Africa and in other parts of the continent, what it takes to set up and continue running such a large and sustained programme in an academic institution; why interest does not wane; and how we manage the focus, substance and logistics of this programme. This guide endeavours to respond to these questions - to assist those university colleagues who are considering the development of similar continuing professional development programmes in the health and related social sectors, both in South Africa and further afield.

How to use this guide

This guide comprises seven chapters:

The guide does not aim to provide a blueprint, however, as continuing education programmes inevitably have to fit into and respond to specific contexts. Rather it raises the key themes, questions and issues to consider when planning such a programme – enriched with reflections from staff and participants about our programme at the School of Public Health at UWC. While the guide focuses on public health, many of the themes are generic to continuing professional development programmes in the public sector and can be used and/or adapted for other fields. When developing your own programmes using this guide, we ask that you acknowledge this original source and that you share your adaptations with us in the interest of refining and developing this as a useful resource for all. Feedback about your own experiences can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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University of the Western Cape Contact Centre

University of the Western Cape,
Robert Sobukwe Road, 
Bellville, 7535, 
Republic of South Africa

email: info@uwc.ac.za

phone: +27 21 959 2911