Three interesting articles, latest news and vacancies in the field of Public Health in South Africa.
Dear Annette ,

The theme of this PHASA newsletter is 'Public Health in the 21st Century'. We feature two articles that describe the experiences in setting up District Public Health Units within the Department of Health. Another article focuses on the question what students understand by public health. Related to this are the stories of two students in public health to which we asked the question on what public health means to them. And finally an opinion piece on PHC re-engineering features is included in this issue. Enjoy reading the newsletter and we hope to see you all at the PHASA conference in Cape Town.

Kind regards,

Annette Gerritsen

Ronel Kellerman

Preventative/Community/Public Health Medicine (PHM) is recognized as a medical specialty that primarily strives to improve population health while also strengthening health system effectiveness and service delivery through its focus on Comprehensive Primary Health Care and Health Systems Management. Therefore the inclusion in the 2011 national Human Resources for Health Strategy of district and provincial Public Health Units (PHUs) headed by PHM specialists and with other cadres of public health professionals in the health services seems to neatly dovetail into this perspective. This brief narrative explores the experiences of both authors over the last five years culminating in the Ekurhuleni district PHU.

Tracey Naledi

The aim of the Healthcare 2010 strategy in the Western Cape was to substantially improve the quality of the health service to impact on population health outcomes. It proposed the establishment of a Public Health Unit (PHU) within the Division: District Health Services (DHS) and Programmes. The aim of this unit was to plan, lead, organize and coordinate the provision of Public Health expertise to the entire department in line with key strategic objectives and priorities. This article discusses the engagement of the department with academic institutions leading to setting up the PHU as well as the successes and challenges of this project.


Liz Wolvaardt

What is (medical) public health? One approach to understand what is meant by the current usage of the term “public health” is to explore the multiple, complicated and complex understandings of public health among students and public health professionals/educators. The aim of this short communication is to share what a cohort of medical students at the UP considers as public health. It is our intention that this will stimulate other educators to explore their students’ understanding and add to the scholarship of public health.

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