International Public Health

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Berg
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 09:25
End: 10:40
Field Work: Day 1 - Cape Town - Saturday, 26 October | South Africa
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

This course is intended to expose students to the most critical issues and debates in
international public health and is unique in that it embeds health problems in the broad social,
cultural, economic, and political contexts that generate them and sustain them. It will explore
the factors that explain the unequal distribution of health and disease in the world language
of global health: the burden of disease, epidemiology, cost-effectiveness, and health systems.
Importantly, global public health indicators such as life expectancy at birth, total fertility
rate, maternal and infant mortality rates, and health expenditures as proportion of GDP will
be assessed for most countries being visited by SAS. It will include approaches used by
various countries in solving their health and medical care problems, different ways public
health experts and interventions attempt to address some of the major health issues for the world’s
populations, and the role of major international health organizations.

Field Work

Country: South Africa
Day: 1 - Cape Town - Saturday, 26 October

The Field Lab will first visit the TB/HIV Care Association, a Cape Town based NGO. The association, which has a long history since its establishment in 1929, works to improve TB and HIV management by increasing access to diagnosis, care, treatment and treatment adherence support. It offers testing and screening, training, clinical mentorship, advocacy, and other specialized support. During our visit, we will learn about the history and operations of the NGO and tour the facilities. Various individuals will share their time and discuss with us the situation regarding services and care for individuals infected with TB and HIV in the Cape Town area. In the afternoon, we will tour the Langa Township. Langa, the Xhosa word for ‘sun’, is the oldest township in South Africa, created shortly following the 1923 Native (Urban Areas) Act, which forced Africans to live in certain locations. Here we will observe the daily life of township residents via a walking tour of the area, observing residential and commercial life in the township. Education, employment, ways to keep local customs alive, the importance of traditional foods, and health and hygiene will be discussed. Academic Objectives:

  1. Gain insight into the history of TB and HIV in South Africa, leading to the establishment of various NGOs and specialty services.
  2. Analyze the current situation and future prospect regarding care for individuals with TB and HIV in the Cape Town area.
  3. Appreciate the intersectionality of poverty, education, race, class and gender inequalities as it affects health.