A CAREER IN PUBLIC HEALTH


NAME: DR THULANI MAPHOSA
COMPANY: ICAP
POSITION: ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR HEALTH SYSTEMS STRENGTHENING
EMAIL: [email protected]

Public Health
Public health is defined as the science of protecting the safety and improving the health of communities through education, policy making and research for disease and injury prevention.
The definition of public health is different for every person. Whether you like to crunch numbers, conduct laboratory or field research, formulate policy, or work directly with people to help improve their health, there is a place for you in the field of public health. Being a public health professional enables you to work around the world, address health problems of communities as a whole, and influence policies that affect the health of societies.
As a public health professional, you will be trained to perform one or more of these ten essential services:
  • Monitor the health status of a community to identify potential problems
  • Diagnose and investigate health problems and hazards in the community
  • Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues, particularly the underserved and those at risk
  • Mobilize community partnerships to identify and solve health problems
  • Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts
  • Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety
  • Link people to needed personal health services and ensure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable
  • Ensure a competent public health and personal health care workforce
  • Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services
  • Research new insights and innovative solutions to health problems

Requirements to pursue this area as a Public Health Specialist
  • Science based qualification with good passes in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology
  • Health related undergraduate
  • Some experience in clinical setting and public health

Public Health Opportunities
  • Research in public health and health systems
  • Management within health care sector including NGOs, Ministries of Health and Development Partners that include UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO and many others
  • Policy advisors and development within health care sector
  • Public: Health department administration, disaster preparedness and public nursing are just three areas in which a public health graduate may work for the government.
  • Education: Education-related roles in public health are often as teachers to public health students or within research.
  • Private: Whether as a consultant or employee, public health graduates often work for pharmaceutical brands, healthcare organizations or insurance companies.
  • Non-profit: Non-profit roles for public health graduates tend to address gaps in healthcare or specialize in a specific population. For example, a non-profit role may serve minorities, veterans or mothers.