Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (NQF Level 8)

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 the Primary Health Care approach.

It also assists students to prioritise health needs at a population level, and design, implement and evaluate context-sensitive Public Health programmes.

The PGD is especially aimed at health and social development managers, supervisors and educators who want general Public Health knowledge and skills to transform their sector without necessarily having to do formal research; and/or practitioners trained in other disciplines, but now working in Public Health. It is appropriate for practitioners at local, district, provincial and national levels.. It is also a potential progression towards the Masters in Public Health programme. The duration of the PGD is between 1 and 2 years, consult the programme handbook for the two options. In the PGD programme, assessments are mainly through assignments, ePortfolio submission and other interactive activities that vary from one module to another.

The curriculum comprises dynamically interacting themes divided into six compulsory modules below; these relate to critical competence areas in the practice of Public Health.

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: Blended 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.

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:

  • 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: Blended learning and Summer School short course in Semester 1.

ASSESSMENT: Two assignments

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: Blended 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.

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: Blended learning in semester 2.

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: Blended learning in semester 2

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: Blended learning in Semester 2.

ASSESSMENT: Two assignments.

A three-year Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in any relevant discipline, e.g. health sciences, social work, and education.

  • The first step you need to take is to apply online through the UWC website: Applications will open in May and they will close at the end of September. Please take note of your application number that you will receive from UWC once you have made this initial application to the University.

  • Once you have made this online application through the UWC website, you will receive an acknowledgement from the School of Public Health. We will then provide you with a link to the SOPH online application form. which we require all applicants to complete.
  • Applicants should start the UWC (general) and SOPH (specific) online application process as early as possible in order to have enough time to be able to complete the necessary application forms, the motivation document and to gather all the necessary and certified documentation together (including leaving time to apply for SAQA clearance certification for all non-South African qualifications).
  • Your application to the University of the Western Cape (general application) and your application to the School of Public Health (specific application & motivation), must be completed on or before the 30 September deadline. This includes the uploading of all relevant documentation onto both the UWC and SOPH online application sites. Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Please do not email any of the required documentation to the SOPH – all applications have to be completed and uploaded through the UWC and the SOPH online application platforms.