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PHH3011: Contemporary health challenges

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate – Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal datesfor the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences


Dr Natasha Khamisa


South Africa

  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)


One of the following units: HSC1081, HSC2022, PBH2003, PHH1081 or PHH2022.




The unit explores global and local health challenges that are at the forefront of the health sector. Students will critically examine the construction of contemporary health challenges including: the implications of global inequalities in health and health problems arising from war and terrorism and political violence such as the refugee crisis.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. discuss in depth some key contemporary health challenges demonstrating awareness of multiple perspectives, including the ways in which different health professions approach the issues and exploring how integrated approaches to addressing the issues may be mounted across disciplines;
  2. demonstrate understanding of key global determinants of health;
  3. consider the common and specific factors involved in the construction of various contemporary health challenges as being of ‘high priority’, particularly in the context of the role that evidence and other factors, including the media, play in this process;
  4. demonstrate understanding of the complex interplay of political, economic, legal and socio-cultural frameworks in shaping contemporary health challenges and how they are responded to;
  5. identify and discuss the implications of ideology, values and power bases in determining our understanding (and prioritising) of contemporary public health challenges;
  6. explore specific case studies of contemporary health challenges (global or local) and critically reflect on current strategies and approaches to responding to them.


  • Written outline of research topic (500 words) (15%)
  • Literature review (1,500 words) (25%)
  • Research essay (3,000 words) (50%)
  • Class participation (10%)

Hurdle: 80% attendance at seminars.

Workload requirements

4 hour seminar per week PLUS 8 hours of private study hours per week.

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Natasha Khamisa

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Public health – South Africa

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