South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy


Through the interdisciplinary coursework in this program, students examine contemporary public health issues in South Africa through a multidisciplinary lens, while analyzing the historical, political, economic, cultural, and geographic forces that shape the history of public health interventions in South Africa. Through the Social and Community Health Research Methods seminar, students learn to be critical consumers of medical research papers and media reports on health, to gather primary data on health issues through questioning and observation, and to conduct ethical, culturally appropriate research in preparation for the Independent Study Project (ISP). Through language study and homestays, students gain a unique window into the culture and insights into community healthcare.

The following syllabi are either from a recent session of this program or for an upcoming session. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Approaches to Community Health in South Africa – syllabus
(IPBH 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
An interdisciplinary course conducted in English. Students gain exposure to essential social, historical, and political features of South Africa to provide a common frame of reference to engage with the program theme. Through lectures from academics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, readings, and selected site visits, students critically examine topics related to health promotion and provision, including the pharmaceutical industry, traditional healing, rural health and social justice, and the role of the media in promoting, communicating, or influencing health issues in South Africa.

The Practice and Provision of Community Health in South Africa – syllabus
(IPBH 3005 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Through a combination of lectures, practicum experience, appropriate readings, and site visits in urban and rural locales, students examine the practice of prevention and promotion of healthcare, come to understand healthcare delivery in rural south Africa, and examine and assess specific health issues in South Africa and how they are being targeted or addressed.     

Intensive Language Study: isiZulu - syllabus (PDF)
(ZULU 1000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
The emphasis is on beginning speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Practice with host family members during the homestays augments formal instruction.

Social and Community Health Research Methods - syllabus (PDF)
(ANTH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
A course in the concepts of learning across cultures and from field experience providing students with core tools in public health research. Introduction to the Independent Study Project. Material includes cross-cultural adaptation and skills building; project selection and refinement; appropriate methodologies; field study ethics and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy; developing contacts and finding resources; developing skills in observation and interviewing; gathering, organizing, and communicating data; and maintaining a field journal.

Independent Study Project - syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Durban or in another approved location appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas: sociological consequences of HIV/AIDS; a historical review of food security and nutrition programs in a community-based NGO; public health education campaigns; African refugees’ and asylum seekers’ access to health service; analysis of the proposed National Health Insurance scheme; sustainable development and healthcare; local attitudes about access to healthcare facilities; indigenous healing practices.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Durban

Language Study: isiZulu

Prerequisites: None

South Africa

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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