The public health sphere is rapidly growing, thanks in part to the population crescendo, increased threat from antibiotic resistance and close-to-home issues, like obesity. Any industry experiencing growth also requires more and more experienced professionals to spearhead the analysis of both immediate and far-reaching problems and to pursue a plan of action. Enter the graduate of a Master of Public Health (MPH) program, a degree which is designed to lead its students into public health practice and imbue them with essential skills like research and writing, critical thinking and problem solving, as well as preparing students for a number of positions in the public and private sectors.
MPH programs are global, reflecting the need for sound and stable public health worldwide. In fact, international public health is one of the most imperative subfields of the discipline, as well as one in which graduates of MPH programs can find their advanced skills and knowledge most earnestly tried. Getting your MPH is a good step; putting it to use in a Third World country desperately impoverished and lacking nutritious foods, vaccines or proper women’s health is making a real difference in the world.
HIV/AIDS and the Global AIDS Program
Around the world and back, roughly 40 million people are reportedly infected with HIV or AIDS; AIDS being the leading cause of death on the continent of Africa by the year 2000. As well, South Africa, at 5.9 million, comprises the largest population of HIV/AIDS-infected people on the planet. Perhaps the most important and worthwhile field an MPH degree grad can
go into is AIDS research, the never-ending search for vaccines and new drugs to treat the virus. And the Center for Disease Control (CDC) initiated a program called the Global Aids Program, which is designed to advocate HIV prevention and care worldwide in over 20 different countries. Counseling Third World peoples in how to prevent the spread of the pandemic virus is an essential factor in slowing the grim death toll and one which MPH grads can actively pursue.
It might seem criminal that while obesity rates in the US soar, adults and children in other parts of the world lack even the most basic human necessity: food. A staggering 2 billion (yes, billion) people on the planet are at risk for malnutrition, despite the fact that worldwide enough food is generated to feed 12 billion mouths. The World Food Programme (WFP), the food assistance branch of the UN, is the largest aid group of its kind – and there are many an MPH grad could become involved with – devoted to solving the world hunger crisis and bringing food to people who need it.
Women’s Health Services
In the continent of Africa, more than anywhere else, women’s sexual and reproductive health is in jeopardy. Because women are denied equal social and political standing, they – and their children – are most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS; women already comprise over half of the infected population for lack of proper prevention and treatment. This is just a microcosm of the inequality women around the world face, as their right to a healthy body is denied with lack of proper nutrition and gynecological care. Further, upwards of 65,000 women die each year globally as the result of unsafe abortions. Groups like the International Women’s Health Coalition can use people with advanced public health degrees at all professional levels. An MPH grad could find him or herself en route to India to help coordinate and implement educational programs, to help HIV-positive mothers cope after childbirth.
Global Health Management
Global health management is a field which may not directly send the graduate to a part of the world to help during crisis, but which is nonetheless essential in organizing the sending of others. Those who to choose to work in the management sector have studied health policy and management, as well as different health care systems, and can apply their knowledge toward the analysis of present-day and currently existing health care problems all over the world. Much in the way an emergency management specialist or public administrator takes multiple issues, such as finance and economics into account, those who pursue global health management specialize in the research, development and evaluation of the systems which others implement in order to affect international public health.