Welcome to your first module of the Master of Public Health – Population Health and Development: A Primary Health Care Approach II. The journey you are about to embark on during this module has been designed to challenge your thinking about health and development and introduce you to the history and value of a Primary Health Care (PHC) approach.
This module begins by focusing on the determinants of health in Africa and the burden and pattern of disease across the continent. Issues related to causation, health inequity and the relationship between health and development, and the impact of urbanisation are discussed in the first Unit. The value of this to you as a Public Health professional is that you can then assess what implications this has for the health of a population, and how such underlying determinants might be considered in planning Public Health interventions.
Unit 2 focuses on the Primary Health Care approach which has been designed to address the implications of the underlying determinants of health. The School of Public Health is particularly supportive of this approach, and it is one in which its founding Director, Emeritus Professor David Sanders, has extensive experience – in philosophical and political terms as well as the way in which it can be articulated in local and national health programmes. Prof Sanders has specifically advocated for a Comprehensive (as opposed to a Selective) PHC approach – an important distinction that we address in this Unit. The third Unit focuses on some of the key issues that would need to be considered in relation to health policy, finances and human resources when establishing a Comprehensive PHC (CPHC) approach to health and health care at district level.
Our modules are designed for self-study or flexible learning, which enables you to work through the course material at a pace that suits you, but guided by the Study Schedule which will be sent to you. Flexible learning allows you to explore the material to whatever depth you require, and to skip over parts with which you are already familiar.
Most modules we provide are also supported by an electronic platform or learning management system called iKamva, which provides an all-in one site hosting the Module Guides, the Reading and the Additional Resources. You will be guided to using iKamva through email communications.
Our aim is to provide you with most of the study resources electronically, so that you can access them where you are and when you need them. However, given that the internet is still not as accessible or reliable as it should be across Africa, we have also loaded all of the materials on to a USB flash drive for your convenience.
Readings and Support
Before you start studying, please ensure that you have all the accompanying resources and that you are aware of the assignment requirements and deadlines. These resources are:
In relation to the assignments, we suggest that you carefully read the Assessment section of this Module Introduction which outlines the TWO assignments.
iKamva Discussion Forum Tutorials
In addition to making the module resources available, the iKamva site has a number of other facilities: it allows us provide the materials we share with students who are attending the Summer School programme in early February.
Although we all have email to communicate, iKamva offers a dedicated space for communication – where we can engage in module-related conversation, post assignments, answer queries. It also allows us to hold an online Discussion Forum, which is compulsory for all students and for which a portion of your module result is allocated. In this way, you can connect non-synchronously (ie at a time of day that suits you), with your lecturer/s and your fellow students. It will be used to discuss key and difficult topics in the module, and to help you to prepare for your first assignment; most importantly, it provides a space in which you can support and receive support from peers and your lecturer, hopefully reducing the isolation you may feel as a distance learner. Instructions for using iKamva and the Discussion Forum will be sent to you by email, and you are urged to familiarise yourselves with the site as soon as possible.
So in summary, in using iKamva, we will also be able to:
To participate using iKamva effectively, you will need to follow the timeline we have developed which guides your progression through the Module Guide (called the Study Schedule) making sure you participate in compulsory events.
Finding your way around the Module Introduction
The introductory pages which follow provide you with an overview of the Module and its outcomes, the assessment requirements, as well as the support and assistance you can expect. Take the time to look through this section before you begin studying – taking particular note of the assignments and their requirements, as well as the time pressure that you will face in completing the module.
This module will be assessed through two assignments. Your assignment dates will be sent by the Student Administrator and will be posted on iKamva. Your Assignments and their Assessment Criteria are in the Assessment section of this Module Introduction, as they will be in all your modules. You should read all the guidance and Rules pertaining to your Assignments, plagiarism, and scholarly referencing before embarking on your first Assignment.
Evaluation of the Module
At the end of the semester, we will be sending you an evaluation form which we urge you to complete and send to us.
We hope that you enjoy the module and find it useful in your own efforts to improve community health!