Building Maternal and Child Health in Central America

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Parker
Credits: 3

Field Class: Panama Download Syllabus

This course will focus on MDG 4, Reduce child mortality, and MDG 5, Improve maternal health. Central American and Caribbean nations have made progress in improving health care for their populations although poverty and poor maternal-child health are still issues in some countries. This course will expose students to the current status of health care in the countries that we will visit and within the region in general. This interactive course will include investigations of primary, secondary and tertiary care with a focus on maternal child health in each. Specific comparisons will be made to describe the effects of cultural and religious influences, the impacts of economy, national health policy and political stability on improvements in health. Issues relating to location (rural/ urban) environments and local traditions will also be investigated. This course will introduce learners to concepts of health and healthcare and to strategies for measuring these both quantitatively and qualitatively. Health care from the perspective of the patient, family, community and provider will be identified and compared to describe the strengths and limitations of each. Faculty Developed Practicum’s will include sponsored tours of traditional and non-traditional health care facilities with a return to a previously developed collaboration focusing on HIV prevention with high risk populations in Honduras.

Field Class

Country: Panama

The Ciudad del Saber (City of Knowledge) is an international complex for education, research, and innovation, and was developed to "promote and facilitate synergy between universities, scientific research centers, businesses, and international organizations." Centrally located on the banks of the Panama Canal, the City of Knowledge is located in the former Fort Clayton military base. The City of Knowledge has a collaborative arrangement with the University of South Florida Health International Foundation and develops health programs that complement existing Panamanian academic courses and research. It is a goal of the City of Knowledge to become a place in which people from various backgrounds, students, professors, scholars, scientists, and business people alike, can come together for the sharing of ideas and the exchange of knowledge. This day long visit will include a lecture on the health care system in Panama by a faculty member from the University of Panama, with an emphasis of the health of women and children and MDG 4 & 5. This will be followed with a guided tour of a clinic and elementary school in a rural area. Students will use public health and observational skills to assess maternal-child health from a public health perspective.