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ZUG1107 - Introduction to public health

Undergraduate – Unit

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


Faculty of Social and Health Sciences


South Africa

  • First Semester 2019 (Day)

15 Credits


This module provides foundation knowledge in public health that begins with its historical underpinnings and leads to examination of the principles, practices and values of contemporary public health. Case studies will be used to illustrate the importance of inter-sectoral, interdisciplinary, systems thinking for the success of public health programs and policy. Students will learn to critically analyse the determinants and burdens of disparate rates of illness and disease from the perspectives of health inequalities and vulnerable populations to understand public health priorities, and the core roles and functions of public health systems and programs.


  • Discuss the principles underpinning public health and examine public health values from different paradigms.
  • Describe the history and evolution of public health and discuss how it has impacted the health of populations.
  • Discuss behavioural, social and cultural, environmental and political determinants that create health and cause ill-health and inequalities.
  • Identify a range of public health interventions and appraise their strengths and limitations.
  • Discuss the critical relationship between human rights and public health, and identify critical ethical considerations for public health practice.
  • Examine the inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary systems that comprise good public health and implications for the workforce.


Within semester/Formative assessment: 60%
Examination/Summative assessment: 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this module is 150 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. Independent study may include associated readings, assessment and preparation for scheduled activities. The module requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.