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Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) Programme

The Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) offered by the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and administered by the Health Services Academy (HSA), Islamabad, is a twenty four months post- graduate degree programme.

Goal of the MSPH Programme

The MSPH/EMSPH programmes offered by HSA aims to improve the health status of the population, which is to be achieved by providing public health and health care professionals with a high quality postgraduate training programme in public health sciences.

Objectives of the MSPH Programme

The graduates of the MSPH/EMSPH programmes are prepared to: 1. Solve health-related problems within the financial, socio-cultural, environmental and political framework of Pakistan and its surrounding region. 2. Design, conduct, analyze and interpret the results of relevant studies, projects and programmes. 3. Initiate, plan, manage, monitor and evaluate interventions in the field of public health. 4. Communicate public health messages to diverse audience effectively. 5. Advocate sound public health policies and practices.

The Master of Science programmes at HSA provide experienced professionals with a thorough grounding in population-based approaches to health sector problem identification, investigation, analysis and managed response.

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Programme Organization and Structure

The intensive curriculum emphasizes basic public health sciences, essential managerial and analytical skills including project planning and evaluation, epidemiological investigations, health systems analysis and research, reproductive and child health, environmental and occupational health, disease control, and effective communication and leadership. It adopts a discipline-based approach to address the core competencies.

The curriculum is organized around a guiding framework, which first provides students a conceptual overview of the diverse profession of public health and team-oriented approach to professional practice as well as practicum.

The courses are taught in either a concurrent or modular manner to build upon and integrate with each other. The first semester curriculum provides exposure to the breadth of public health disciplines. The second semester curriculum provides advanced training in key methodological and programmatic disciplines which continues into the third semester, along with electives and a student-directed thesis. The Dissertation integrates public health knowledge, skills, and methods in a professionally and personally relevant practice context. Elective courses are offered only during the third semester if minimally eight participants enroll for a course. New credited courses will be subsequently introduced on a need-and-demand basis in the coming years. Students are encouraged to become involved in the institutional research, e.g. HSA’s Field Demonstration Area provides an opportunity for supervised, mentored practical experiences while addressing the health needs of Pakistan and its surrounding region.

In the fourth semester the students of MSPH (two year) proceed to their respective workplace and apply the skills that they learnt in the first three semesters. The immediate supervisor’s/mentor’s appraisal will be submitted at the end of the semester.

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MSPH Programme Duration, Credits and Medium of Instruction

The MSPH degree programme extends up to twenty four (24) months comprising four semesters. The first two semesters are dedicated to course work, culminating in an end-of-semester examination. In the third semester, the examination is held by mid-semester, and the remaining time is to be used to complete student dissertations. During the first three semesters, students are expected to attend all classes at the HSA; however, during the fourth semester, they are expected to return to a job environment and carry out an on-the-job assignment as part of their practicum. All semesters are followed by semester break of up to four weeks’ duration. In the third semester all students have to conduct a field project leading to a dissertation. In the fourth semester every student has to carry out a practicum (on-the-job assignment) and submit a short written report and an appraisal from the immediate supervisor/mentor.

The total programme consists of 60 credits. One credit is equivalent to 16-18 hours of formal teaching/contact hours or 48-54 hours of practical fieldwork. Practical fieldwork is defined as consisting of individual fieldwork, group fieldwork, field visits, individual assignments and class exercises.

English is the medium of instruction and examination for the MSPH programme

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Semester-wise Distribution for MSPH (2 year program)

The distribution of the core and elective courses in the three semesters is given in the following tables.

The credits per semester differ as the division of time for lectures and practical work for different courses varies. However, the maximum number of lectures/contact hours and practical work is constant per semester (approximately 500 hours).

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Method of Assessment/Examination for MSPH (2 year programme)

The students are evaluated during each course on the basis of:

1.Formative assessment which is a mix of the tests, end of course examination, class and home assignments, class participation, interactive discussions, practical exercises and/or group works depending on the course outline (ongoing assessment);

2.Summative assessment based on the end of semester examination papers. Summative assessments are held at the end of first two semesters and comprise of two semester papers each. In the third semester, the students are examined in the mid-semester summative assessment before the start of the Dissertation work. The issertation work is assessed through a viva voce examination on the basis of a structured format covering the quality of the project, work performed in the field, data generation and analysis and presentation of results, discussion and conclusions presented as a written report. In the fourth semester the students go back to their workplaces and apply the skills learned in the first three semesters. At the end of the semester an on-job written report will be submitted by the students in addition to the written appraisal by the designated supervisor/mentor. A joint agreement has to be made with the supervisor/mentor and the faculty advisors at HSA prior to the beginning of the fourth semester. This will be finally assessed by the senior faculty of HSA. Fifty percent marks shall be reserved for the ongoing (formative) assessment and fifty percent for the semester examination paper and dissertation (summative assessment). Candidates obtaining less than 50% in any of the examinations will be deemed to have failed in that paper/semester of the MSPH. A student failing in a paper (when scores of semester examination and ongoing assessment are less than fifty percent), will be allowed to clear that paper in the supplementary examination to be held within 3 months of the declaration of the result of the semester. However, a student accumulating more than two failures at any stage shall cease to be a student of the University. Each credit corresponds to 50 marks in the examination. 25 marks per credit are for the formative (ongoing) assessment and 25 marks for summative (end semester exam) assessment.The distribution of marks of each examination is as follows:

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Course Catalog for MSPH/EMSPH Programmes

HSA’s MSPH/EMSPH programmes are internationally accredited and its curriculum designed in accordance with international standards. Every year, HSA produces public health graduates who work at key posts in national and international agencies within Pakistan and abroad.

Courses for Semester I for MSPH/EMSPH

MPH301: Foundations of Public Health This is a 1-credit introductory course designed to introduce students to the various facets of public health concepts, the problem-solving paradigm, and to prepare them for a multi-disciplinary approach towards public health. By the end of the course, participants should be able to examine public health through its historical context and use this information in the evaluation of current public health issues, and analyze a public health problem and evaluate interventions and policy alternatives using the roblem-solving methodology.

MPH302 & MPH303: Basic Epidemiology and Basic Biostatistics

MPH302 Basic Epidemiology: This 3-credit course in Basic Epidemiology is designed with the objective of introducing the subject and its fundamental principles, uses and methods. The student should become familiar with principles of screening, surveillance, measures of disease frequency and association. They will be able to understand epidemiological study designs and interpret data in a scientific manner.

MPH303 Basic Biostatistics: A 3-credit core course in basic biostatistics shall be given. It shall cover the basic statistical methods to enable the participants to use them in such disciplines as Epidemiology, medical demography, health planning and management, maternal and child health and communicable and non-communicable disease prevention and control. The emphasis in the course shall be on development of practical skills in Biostatistics rather than on its mathematical basis. The student would thus acquire the ability to make appropriate tabulations and graphic displays of data, select and conduct appropriate methods of statistical inference and interpret the results of analyses.

MPH304: Population Dynamics This is a 1-credit core course. The course introduces participants to the basic concepts of demography, its importance and application in public health. They would study the various methods for demographic data collection and learn how to compute and interpret the common demographic indicators. Participants shall be able to use this knowledge to make projections of future population growth and its use in planning for health services.

MPH305: Computer Applications in Public Health

This 1-credit course aims to provide the public health professionals with skills to operate computers and utilize softwares with speed and efficiency to improve their communications with their colleagues and other scientists around the world. Public Health professionals must have the expertise to utilize statistical and wordprocessing softwares effectively in order to produce high quality reports and publications.

MPH306: Foundations of Qualitative Research In this 3-credit course the participants are introduced to basic concepts of social and medical anthropology. The socio-cultural dimensions and lay perceptions of health and medicine including the concepts and definitions of disease, illness and sickness from the public health’s point of view are taught. The course teaches qualitative research methods, i.e. interview, observation and participative techniques, and their application to public health. Students discuss and practice methods for collecting and analyzing qualitative data.

MPH307: Introduction to Environmental Health This 3-credit course presents concepts, principles, and applications of the main natural and social science disciplines that form the basis of environmental health and describes how these disciplines and their practitioners interact in the environmental health paradigm. The course examines health issues, scientific understanding of causes, and possible future approaches to control of the major emerging environmental health problems in industrialized and developing countries.

MPH308: Aspects of Social and Behavioural Sciences in Public Health The goal of this 1-credit course is to introduce the MSPH participants to the various facets of the public health in light of the social determinants of health. The main emphasis is on a holistic view keeping under consideration the social, cultural, ecological, political and economic factors and their mutual interaction that influences the occurrence of disease and its management at individual and community level.

MPH309: Health Systems Analysis This course is worth 2 credits, and introduces the concept of a health system, its various components, and the influences of the surrounding socioeconomic and cultural environment. Participants shall become familiar with the methods used to assess the health system in general and the health care delivery system in particular. The role of various private and public sector agencies (including NGOs) and their interrelationship with respect to their impact on the improvement of health systems at all levels will be analysed. They will also become familiar with methods used to identify health problems and health needs of communities. Back to Top

Courses for Semester II for MSPH/EMSPH

MPH310: Research Process I and II

This is a 3-credit hour course offered over two semesters; part one in semester II (credits 2) and part two in semester III (credit 1). This is an applied subject utilizing the knowledge and skills acquired in the first semester. This includes the learning of skills of critically assessing the published articles in medical journals based on the knowledge acquired earlier. Through the application of their knowledge of epidemiology and biostatistics, population dynamics, qualitative research methods, computer skills and health systems analysis, students will develop a research question, do a literature review and provide the essential background, make statements for objectives, carry out data collection, apply statistical methods and computer skills to conduct data analysis, and finally, present their findings and research projects in the third semester.

MPH311: Introduction to Reproductive Health

This 2-credit core course provides information on the reproductive health problems of women and men and possible solutions. The goal of this course is to enable the students to have the knowledge and skills to address and provide solutions for a better reproductive health. It is hoped that the participants would also be able to analyse and interpret relevant data and to design, implement and monitor field programmes for improving reproductive health status. The course will focus on the basic concepts, problems and issues in reproductive health.

MPH312: Child Health Programmes and Interventions

This 2-credit core course aims to improve and strengthen the knowledge and skills of health care providers in the field of child health including social problems. Participants will become aware of the multidimensional causes of child health problems, understand the basic concepts and principles of essential programme areas of child health, the role of governmental, private and international health agencies, research methods, policy formulation and programme evaluation in child health. The participants will be able to evaluate national health programmes and to compare and contrast vertical and integrated approaches to health care interventions in child health.

MPH313: Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics

This 3-credit elective course in applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics shall further consolidate the knowledge and skills the participants have acquired in basic epidemiology, biostatistics, and computer applications in public health course. The aim of this course is to familiarize participants with the application of epidemiological methods in the field.

MPH314: Communicable and Non-communicable Disease Control This is a 2-credit core course. The overall aim of this course is to familiarize participants with the epidemiology of commonly occurring diseases in developing countries and their impact in endemic areas. It mainly covers epidemiology of infectious diseases, and additionally addresses some common non-communicable diseases. The course contents include investigation of outbreaks, medical entomology, efficacy of vaccines, diagnostic laboratory techniques and control measures for selected communicable diseases.

MPH315: Health Promotion Health promotion is an important intervention to change behaviors and attitudes of people to deal with largely preventable health problems. It needs the input in the form of proper planning, implementation and evaluation of Health Promotion programmes and projects. Health Promotion is considered as the continuation of the skills already learnt in the earlier courses. This 3-credit course aims to reorient the students to turn them into health promotion specialists and communicators.

MPH316: Health Systems Management This 3-credit core course focuses on the means and methods of proper management of a health care system. It will focus on issues such as health management information, quality assurance, and financial management, maintenance and repair, and personnel management. Also considered are quantitative techniques and methods, which shall assist health managers in evidence-based decision-making.

MPH317: Health Systems Planning This 3-credit course is offered to MSPH participants to build upon their existing Health Systems concepts. Health planning is a major task of public health professionals working in the government and the private sector at managerial posts such as project managers, district health officers, and hospital managers. Particularly since many countries have decentralized their administration to the districts and below, public health professionals are required to have sound knowledge and skills to plan and budget for health. The focus of this course is on the tools and techniques of operational planning, whereas strategic planning is dealt with in the elective course on health policy. Back to Top

Courses for Semester III for MSPH/EMSPH

MPH418: Health Care Financing

This 3-credit course is an introduction to the field of health care financing and health economics. In the past decade, some of the most controversial policies considered by governments have involved issues that have been analyzed by health economists. For this reason, public health professionals need to have a sound basis to understand economic and financing mechanisms underlying changes occurring in the health sector.

MPH419: Applied Nutrition This 3-credit elective course is designed to familiarize the participants with the fundamentals of nutrition. The assessment of nutritional status, effects on growth and common nutrition problems will be discussed in greater detail. In addition, this course will provide an opportunity to the participants to learn about the nutritional care of the mother, infant and young children.

MPH420: Hospital Management

This 3-credit elective course is aimed at enhancing the skills of participants in hospital management in order to improve the quality of services being provided in hospitals. Participants will familiarize themselves with the essential components of a hospital system, the role of hospitals in relation to a primary health care system and the fundamental principles of management of hospitals with respect to financial, physical and personnel resource management.

MPH421: Occupational Health

This 3-credit course specifically focuses on occupational health problems. The emphasis is on problems encountered in developing countries, in the rural and urban setting. It begins by describing exposure-disease relationships in the workplace and then goes on to discuss the various control measures available to minimize such exposures. Ergonomics and acute and chronic injuries are also discussed. Other issues that are covered include occupational epidemiology, industrial hygiene, workers’ compensation, and the mechanism for delivery of occupational health services.

MPH422: Health Policy

The overall goal of this 3-credit course is to provide the participants a basis on how to critically analyze, develop and improve health policies. This course introduces participants to the concepts of Primary Health Care, its policies and strategies: the role of the community, the participatory principle and the necessity for multi-sectoral cooperation. Participants will develop an understanding of the need for a health policy, and be equipped with the methods and tools of policy formulation. This course will introduce participants to means and methods of planning at the central level. Participants will be given an insight into how macro-plans relate to district plans and be able to identify constraints, limitations and problems with implementing macro-plans for improving peripheral health services.

MPH423: Community-based Reproductive Health Interventions The goal of this 3-credit course is to equip the participants with the skills, knowledge and principles to design and manage effective community-based reproductive health programmes at the national, provincial and district levels. Students spend the first part of the course preparing the community-level assessment tools and the second part collecting the information in the field. Assessments are conducted at volunteer tehsil health centres where local health officials and community providers can guide the types of information needed. Course participants analyze the collected data and prepare written and oral reports which are shared with the local health unit. Appropriate community-based interventions are then suggested from the needs assessment.

MPH424: Workforce Planning This course prepares participants to advance their competence in preparing workforce plans at national, regional and organizational level. Participants will become familiar and competent with the various planning tools and models available to health planners, and be able to prepare high quality evidence based work plans. The module will be practical in orientation offering students multiple opportunities to use different tools, software and techniques.

MPH 425: Workforce Management This module examines the theory and process of managing and mobilizing the health workforce to achieve organizational goals from the standpoint of the mid-level manager, including management issues such as recruitment, retention, staff development, performance issues, and the difficult and sensitive skills of handling grievances and negotiations. The module is strong on skills development and practice.

MPH-426: Strategic Human Resources for Health This module reviews the consequences of a systemic failure to address human resource issues in health systems and health care organizations at local and national level. Drawing on a wide range of evidence from a range of sources, students explore what is happening in the workforce, and critically appraise strategies and policies that could be or have been put in place to address the national workforce crisis.

MPH324: Dissertation During this 10-credit assignment for MSPH & 12-credit assignment for EMSPH, participants will carry out a research project of her/his own choice in an area of public health. In close collaboration with a faculty advisor, participants will conduct a study in the form of basic or an applied research project or program/project evaluation. At the end of the fieldwork participants shall formally present their findings in the form of a dissertation. Back to Top

Practicum for Semester IV (MSPH)

MPH325: Practicum (On-the-job Assignment) The goal of the 2-credit Practicum is to provide a structured and supervised opportunity for the student to apply the theories, principles, knowledge and skills of public health and health promotion, as learned in the classroom, in a practice setting. The practice experience occurs in a carefully-selected health services organization approved by the MSPH Programme Coordinator and is supervised by HSA faculty and an immediate supervisor/mentor. This takes into account the transition from education to professional practice.

Eligibility Criteria

Basic Qualifications

The candidate should possess one of the following qualifications or an equivalent degree from a recognized university or accrediting body. a) MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery). b) BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery). c) B Pharmacy (Bachelor of Pharmacy) or M Pharmacy (Master’s in Pharmacy). d) BSc Nursing (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). e) DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine). f) Master’s Degree in a relevant subject such as Anthropology, Business Administration Public Administration (MPA), Executive Business Administration (EMBA of 2 year), Human Nutrition, Microbiology, Physiology, Psychology, Public Health Engineering, Statistic, Zoology, Environmental Sciences, Social Sciences, Education & other related sciences. Back to Top Age Limit Candidates should not be over 45 years of age at the time of applying for the course. In case of a tie in the process of fulfillment of selection criteria, preference shall be given to those of younger age. Final Selection The applicant’s acceptance is contingent upon the receipt of all required documents including official transcripts. The MSPH/EMSPH Admissions Committee is responsible for identifying those students with missing documents and/or credentials which do not meet eligibility standards. The final selection shall be done on the basis of the following distribution of marks:

* The marks obtained in the final examination of the qualifying degree as mentioned in the eligibility criteria.

Grading of course work is as under:
·Grade “A” 80% or higher
·Grade “B” 60% to 79%
·Grade “C” 50% to 59%
·Fail Less than 50%

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