Public health is the art and science of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organized efforts of society. Simply, public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play. Public health professionals engage in activities which advocate for and promote policies that encourage healthy lifestyles, research in diseases, detection and prevention of injuries, and control of diseases.
Public health practice is concerned with the process of mobilizing local, state, national and international resources to assure the conditions in which all people can be healthy and access healthcare timely when needed. Public health can equally be described as what we as a society do collectively to ensure that the environment in which live, learn, work, and play is the one which can support good health and wellness necessary for the enjoyment of life and useful productive activity.
Public health has to do with timely identification of risk factors to the optimal health status of populations, empowerment of populations and segments thereof at risk of morbidity and premature death to assume responsibility for the promotion and maintenance of optimal health through the purposive provision, efficient management, and effective implementation of technologies and services.
Many of the public health’s duties are the health issues that confront our daily lives like protecting our drinking water, maintaining a clean environment and waste disposal, ensuring car and road safety, providing vaccinations against diseases and epidemics, safer foods etc.
At the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, our public health curriculum is built on the major tenets of Public Health Science and in accordance with the National Universities Commission (NUC) Basic Academic Standards (BMAS). Our curriculum is drawn from a vast spectrum of disciplines and knowledge area including but not limited to epidemiology, biostatistics, social sciences, basic & applied sciences, humanities, physiology and anatomy, community medicine, law and ethics, computer science and application, management, pharmacology etc.
We have an excellent faculty to teach all public health courses. Over 80% of our faculty have doctoral degrees and have demonstrated expertise in their respective areas in public health and allied disciplines. Through a combination of practical experience and academic rigour, our programmes in public health prepare graduates and equip them with the knowledge and skills to:
i. Assess the health needs of diverse communities/populations;
ii. Plan, implement and evaluate collaborative health promotion and disease prevention programs;
iii. Assess the health needs of diverse communities/populations;
iv. Plan, implement and evaluate collaborative health promotion and disease prevention programs;
v. Recommend and execute health intervention programs to address specific community health needs;
vi. Facilitate and build local community capacity to solve public health problems through partnership and collaboration with other agencies and so on.
The philosophy of the Public Health programme in FUTO is to provide a broad-based academic, professional training and competence that reflect the emphasis on the current national control and preventive health care system and services.
Aims and Objectives
The aims and objectives of FUTO Public Health programme are to:
- Enable the students to acquire competencies in Public Health, carry out community diagnosis, immunization, community mobilization, health education/ promotion and apply statistical and mathematical methods to the design and analysis of public health problems.
- Enable students to conduct Public Health/ biomedical research, nutrition and growth monitoring, environmental monitoring and disease surveillance.
- Prepare public health professional to take up effective leadership and management position in the community, workplaces, school settings and health centres/institutions.
Programme of Study
The Department of Public Health FUTO offers sound undergraduate programme courses in Public Health as well as postgraduate courses leading to the award of Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in Public Health, Masters in Public Health (MPH), and PhD in Public Health.
At MPH and PhD level, available options include; Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Environmental Health & safety, Health Promotion and Disease Control.
Job opportunities for graduates of Public Health are abundant and competitive. Graduates can find jobs in both the private and public sector, including the options of self-employment. Depending on the level of exposure and education in the field, the following are jobs are available for public health professionals:
Epidemiologist, Health educator, Disease control specialist, Community health coordinator, Health Programme Coordinators, Environmental Health Career, Dental hygienist/Technologist, Public Health Physician, Researcher, Lecturer, Public Health Consultant. Director of mental health, Disease Intervention Specialist, Outreach Coordinator, HIV/AIDS Prevention Coordinator, Patients Care Coordinator, Health Planner, Public Health Adviser and many others. International job opportunities are available with the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF), World Bank, United Nations Organization (UNO), United Nations High Commission on Refugees, etc. Many other job opportunities are available with Non-government Organization or charitable foundations in Nigeria and overseas. Public health graduates with a special passion for certain health concerns can found their own non-profit or charitable foundations to advance a course.