The core course in Public Health is a 3 months course that prepares health managers to use a public health approach to address the problems in your country, taking into account epidemiology, health system aspects, and broader social determinants of health. The course will prepare you to solve complex public health problems systematically.
The course can be taken as a stand-alone course or as part of a (part-time) Master in Public Health. This course is targeted at those who aspire to management positions in public health.
The full-time Master of Public Health/International Course in Health Development (MPH/ICHD) is an annual 12-month MPH program organized by the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). Participants can choose from the following study tracks:
Health Systems Policy & Management track
Sexual and Reproductive Health track
KIT has launched the ‘Women Leaders in Global Health Development Initiative’ and as part of this initiative, we strongly encourage women to apply.
The MPH is accredited by the Netherlands-Flemish Accreditation Organization (NVAO).
“Studying at KIT helped me to have a critical mind and to really think out of the box. I work now for the National Cancer Prevention Centre in Zambia. We have screened close to 200,000 women in the cervical cancer programme which has never happened before in this country. Though the incidence and mortality rates are still high there has been massive awareness on the disease. We have also managed to have international recognition on the programme and have trained people from 11 other African countries. I could not have succeeded in all that without the training in public health at KIT.”
Sharon Kapambwe from Zambia, MPH, Background Medical Doctor. Currently Working as Director of National Cancer Prevention Center
Course start date 2021: 20 September 2021
Next course start date 2022: 19 September 2022
The course consists of 3 parts:
Epidemiology and statistics
Social Determinants of Health
Health Systems and Policy Making
During the core course of the Master of Public Health students are introduced to the broad categories of factors that influence health: culture, lifestyle, socioeconomic, political, and natural environments, and the impact of the health care delivery system. Throughout the course, we emphasize the gendered nature of these factors.
The content of the course is practice-based and oriented as much as possible to the working situation of participants. Staff/student contact is intensive throughout the course. Students learn through lectures, discussion, group work, individual presentations, case studies, exercises, study visits, internet-based virtual learning environments and ‘serious gaming’, self-reflection, self-study, and written assignments.
They receive study material before each module. During the lessons, they share information about health issues of countries in which they have worked and compare experiences. Online repositories are used for learning material; laptops and/or tablets are required.
The study load of the core course in Public Health is 17 EC. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) facilitates the transfer of course credits between institutions at the same academic level. 1 EC requires 28 hours of student time, which includes class time and independent study.
Each module is assessed by means of either a written examination or a take-home assignment.
Part-time program Master of Public Health
The course can be taken as a stand-alone course or as part of a (part-time) Master in Public Health.
The Core Course in Public Health consists of 3 parts:
Epidemiology and Statistics
Epidemiology is the discipline involved not only in describing how disease and ill-health are distributed in populations – in person, place, and time –, but epidemiology also tries to answer the question as to why this distribution occurs and how interventions may influence this distribution. Statistics deals with collecting, summarizing, presenting, and interpreting data, and using them to develop and test hypotheses.
You will learn how diseases are measured, the principles of their spread, their causes, and their natural history and will enable you to form a hypothesis based on disease measurements.
This module will teach you how to recognize different study designs, identifying risk factors. Different designs for quantitative and experimental studies are discussed and the way these study designs may influence the results through, either, systematic (bias) and random errors (chance).
Epidemiology is one of the basic knowledge systems for interpreting literature, and at the end of the module, a short series of sessions is devoted to systematic reviews to assist in the assessment of effective interventions.
Social Determinants of Health
The factors that have an important influence on health are known as determinants of health. Most of the key determinants of health lie outside the direct influence of health care, such as gender, education, culture, employment, and environment. Understanding these factors is important to understand how to design or manage interventions in the public health sector. In this module, we will introduce the concepts of health and public health and give a historical overview of public health through to the latest ideas around health sector reform. The module also introduces the participants to core values such as equity, rights, pro-poor approaches, and good governance.
Analyzing the broad environmental factors that influence health it becomes clear that each of these factors is not only separately related to health, but that they mutually influence each other. Poverty has a clear influence on the health of women and men but ill health also affects the poverty of individuals and families. Socio-economic changes and changes in nutrition at the population level influence demographic trends. Population shifts in age and fertility and power relations between men and women have an impact on the health of individuals and families. Changes in the physical environment may influence the economy of the country, but they may also have political consequences, and cause changes in (health) policy and budget allocations, and therefore affect the functioning of the health services.
Culture and subcultures of different groups influence health behavior practices and health-seeking behavior and are not static over time. Individual lifestyle factors are often influenced by peers, the community, and the society someone lives in. In each country, the effect of particular influences may differ. Globalization plays an increasingly important role as a determining factor i.e through newly emerging diseases, and also through international policy developments.
Health Systems and policymaking
Health managers and professionals play a crucial role in planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating their contributions to assisting individuals and groups to seek care when needed and to advocate action for better health.
Health policy deals not only with the organization and the financing of health services, but it also tries to address and influence other determinants of health, including the behavior and practices of people.
This module starts with a discussion on health systems: their boundaries, actors, functions, and goals. You will look into the health needs of people, the demand for services that result from these needs, and the supply of these services: the organization of the health service delivery. What are the factors that influence utilization of health services, what influences people’s health (care) seeking behavior, and why are services often not reaching the poor and other underprivileged groups f.e. specific ethnic groups.
The ultimate goal of health status improvement has different dimensions: equity, efficiency, and quality of care and these dimensions can be influenced by different ways of organizing and financing services.
Health financing deals with the way health systems are financed, how providers are paid and health economics provides some basic tools for priority setting and economic evaluation in health care.
Health Management Information Systems are crucial in evaluating and monitoring the performance of health systems and link to Quality Assurance and Improvement systems.
Health promotion theories and practices are introduced in this module. Health promotion aims at enabling individuals and groups in society to improve their health.
Health policy and health policies will also be framed in the broader concept of ‘development’.
If you are a health professional working or preparing to work, in a managerial capacity in health services at the national, regional, or decentralized district level, this course is designed for you.
Bachelor’s degree or equivalent academic training in either medicine or another field related to health, such as health sciences, economics, social science, or nursing.
A minimum of three years of experience, including managerial responsibilities in health-related services in a low resource country.
Proven proficiency in spoken and written English academic TOEFL or IELTS test. A minimum written TOEFL score of 550, iBT TOEFL score of 80, computer-based TOEFL score of 213, or an IELTS academic score of 6.0 is required.
Computer literacy is expected.
The number of places in this program is limited. Because there are always more applicants than places in the course, a selection must be made of those meeting the above-mentioned criteria. The selection committee takes into account country of origin, experience, and professional background in order to compose a group with a mixture of professional and geographical backgrounds.
As part of the ‘Women Leaders in Global Health Development Initiative’, we strongly encourage women with the appropriate background to apply.
Please upload your application online.
The following documents should be uploaded:
A one-page letter of motivation
Copies of your diplomas and grade reports
An up-to-date curriculum vitae and a list of publications if applicable
Proof of English proficiency (if applicable)
What we expect from your motivation letter:
Please indicate in your motivation letter why you want to follow this specific course, why you want to follow the course at KIT Amsterdam, what do you expect to learn and how you will apply your newly gained competencies from the course in your work, what kind of benefits will it bring to your future career, etc. Describe a relevant problem you have experienced in the last two years that you would like to discuss during this specific course. Your motivation should be about ½-1 page. Please do not repeat your CV again.
KIT and VU University Amsterdam require all Master program applicants, who have not completed their education in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Philippines, India, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Liberia, or who have not obtained an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma, to enclose proof of English language proficiency in the form of the internationally recognized TOEFL or IELTS tests.
A minimum written TOEFL score of 550, iBT TOEFL score of 80, computer-based TOEFL score of 213, or an IELTS academic score of 6.0 is required. Please note that candidates must take the Academic test and not the General one.
We only accept official TOEFL or IELTS test results, which are not older than 3 years.
For Dutch participants academic training is sufficient.
TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition test
Due to the global Covid-19 situation KIT will accept the TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition test as it is the same research-based, valid, and reliable TOEFL iBT test of academic English from ETS.
TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition is now available in almost all countries, with the exception of Iran.
Candidates fulfilling the MPH/ICHD entry requirements will receive a letter of admission, admitting them to the course provided that financing can be arranged. Once you have secured financial support and provided evidence of proficiency in English, you will receive a definitive letter of admission.
Note: Participants with a source of guaranteed financing have until the 15th of July to apply to the MPH/ICHD. However, the course is often already full. Also, visa applications can take several months to process. Therefore candidates are therefore advised to apply early.
The total price of the core course in Public Health (2021) will be EUR 6.050.
For cancellation within seven days, no fee is required and 100 percent of the fee will be reimbursed if already paid. For cancellation by candidate see cancellation fees.
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