This course will provide students with an understanding of the definitions, concepts, and principles of international public health. Students will recognize how cultural, political-economic, and environmental trends shape health both locally and globally. Local, regional and global patterns of health and disease will be discussed, as well as the impact of global health interventions. The promotion of health equity, human rights, and social and environmental justice will be explored in relation to global health initiatives. We will also discuss how the outcomes of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (specifically maternal and infant mortality, and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment) can be improved by applying Public Health principles. Students will explore global health problems and initiatives in the field lab experiences to learn about the varying manners in which different societies approach these issues, and the successes of those approaches.
Field WorkCountry: Ghana
Day: 1 - Tema (Accra) - 10 April
This field lab takes us to a hospital in Ghana where we will tour a maternity ward and speak with physicians and midwives about childbirth practices in Ghana. Topics for discussion might include: the availability of pre- and post-natal healthcare for women; beliefs and practices around family planning; infant and maternal mortality rates; the role of midwives in Ghana today; the interaction of “modern” and “traditional” beliefs/ knowledge around pregnancy and childbirth; the use of anesthesia during childbirth; the availability of general gynecological care for women; the role of fathers in pregnancy and childbirth. It also promises to be a moving experience that speaks—in a vivid and immediate way—to some of the ideas about maternity, women’s bodies, and female sexuality raised by our literary texts. Certainly it will help us think further about whether there are aspects of women’s experiences that are “universal” and to what extent a biological process, such as childbearing, is significantly shaped by cultural context. Academic Objectives:
- Understand the issues related to maternal mortality in Ghana.
- Explore the maternity services available to women in Ghana.
- Identify the strategies that the local and government public health officials are employing to reduce maternal mortality in Ghana.