The future of individuals, families, communities and societies around the world can be changed with the right focus on one area: public health. Be it programs around vaccination or initiatives around family planning, it is public health that has come to the rescue time and again. Over the years, a number of aspects have come together to inform this area of study. One of them surely is scientific research, which has generated tools to solves problems head-on. Secondly, with the spread and enhancement of education in general, more people have access to education and awareness. All these put together, masses of people have slowly been moved to understanding how health is instrumental to a good life.
These nuances are further explored when one chooses to plunge deep into public health studies. And now, more than ever, with opportunities expanding, careers in public health are opening up more than ever. Which means specialisations have a greater value in terms of flexibility of work options as well as the levels of personal satisfaction.
At such a time, if you’re looking through public health courses in Uganda, there are at least a few nuances to keep in mind. They have to do with what level of study you’re considering, what sort of exposure these levels can give you, and what opportunities open up, once you’ve steeped yourself in this course of education.
Bachelor of Arts or Science in Public Health
The foundation of this stream of education lies in a Bachelor of Arts or Science in Public Health. Such a course is what gets a student in touch with the basics of planning, initiating and running public health programs. Aspects like global health and preventive measures are also introduced to students at this stage. This is also the first level at which epidemiology is introduced. It is, however, essential to remember that there is a subtle difference between a bachelor of arts public health program and a bachelor of science public health program. In the former, the focus is typically on the social sciences, while on the latter, natural sciences are more a priority. The electives also differ based on whether you’re taking up an arts-based or science-based degree. In either case, choosing a degree that offers an in-depth view of what the field is all about, going deeper into studying disease, which includes its development and distribution, can lift a student’s overall experience. A degree program in public health typically lasts for three years.
Master of Public Health
Once a student decides to pursue a Master of Public Health course, it is really a specialisation that they are looking at. Since before this level, basics have already been covered, a masters program looks at going into specific details in a deeper way. Among the several public health courses in Uganda, one needs to choose a program that magnifies the importance of diagnostic skills, especially in community health settings. If the program also channels content towards prevention and management of disease, it’s a plus. The idea of such a postgraduate program is to enable students to work on their decision-making when it comes to policy formulations and skills around designing sustainable health programs.
When we speak of helping professions, most of us tend to think of doctors, nurses and therapists. But when one thinks again, public health professionals also get added to that list. Public health is a field rife with intensity and possibility, where each day can be a new challenge and yet, a reward too. For one, it leaves a lasting impression on collective health. For another, it has a certain ethical context built around it, which can make you want to ‘do more good’. And what’s really ideal is that there are a number of career opportunities open to an aspiring student. The list includes community health workers, health educators, emergency management specialists, dieticians and nutritionists as well as epidemiologists. While considering public health courses in Uganda, remember that without this field of study many dynamic changes to global health would have been impossible.