Introduction and Overview to the MPH Programme:
The challenge of the Health System in Uganda is to promote, improve and maintain the health of the Ugandan people equitably, and to the optimum level possible with the resources available. Following the introduction of decentralisation in 1993, the increased demand for public health practitioners was recognised. The demand for practitioners has continued to grow as a result of the creation of more districts and further decentralisation to lower levels (the health sub-districts) now numbering about two hundred.
Since the 1994/1995 academic year, Makerere University School of Public Health, the Ministry of Health and Rockefeller Foundation, assumed a joint commitment to implement a Master of Public Health Degree Programme. The philosophy of this programme is to develop high quality and sustainable training strategies that will produce public health leaders and workers prepared to address public health challenges at the national, district and community levels in Uganda.
The current 22-month MPH training programme consists of an academic component with compulsory courses that are mainly conducted at the School. The programme also has a field component covered during field placements at the selected district training sites, under the supervision of the respective District Directors of Health Services (DHO), MakSPH faculty and Ministry of Health Officials.
The two year MPH curriculum is run in conformity with the University semester system. Each academic year consists of two semesters of 17 weeks duration foreach semester and a recess term of ten weeks duration.
Coordination of programme activities is the responsibility of the Department of Health Policy, Planning and Management.
The MPH programme is multidisciplinary in nature and students from a wide range of backgrounds and experience are admitted to it. So far, the background of graduates of the programme include medical doctors, veterinary doctors, dental surgeons, pharmacists, social scientists, science teachers, food scientists and nurses. This situation provides an opportunity for sharing experiences and competencies in public health during the learning process.
Facilitation of the programme courses is also multidisciplinary in that specialists from various fields of expertise from within and without the University take part in the teaching of various programme courses.
Makerere University School of Public Health has only fiften established staff who teach the academic courses, with the assistance of other experts in the relevant fields from MOH, and other departments in the University.
The DHO of the identified training sites supervise and guide the students during their field attachments. A number of University lecturers supervise the students’ dissertations in the areas of specialisation. The number of MakSPH faculty is expected in the near future.
The MPH is a full-time programme and officers’ involvement in outside work during the training period isn’t expected.
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