Welcome to the module, Measuring Health and Disease I: Introduction to Epidemiology. This module was designed to meet the growing need for an applied course in the measurement of a variety of health indicators and outcomes. Whether you manage a health programme, a health facility, or simply have to interpret health data in the course of your work, this module sets out to increase your capacity to deal with health and disease information. It aims to assist you in applying epidemiological knowledge and skills to a variety of Public Health problems such as:
Is your DOTS programme succeeding?
What does it mean if a TB prevalence is 850/100 000?
Is this a Public Health problem or not?
What is the “burden of disease” in different communities?
Although the module also addresses many of the topics usually associated with the traditional approach to epidemiology, e.g. rates, screening, surveillance, causation, etc, it embraces a wider perspective on health measurement. It does this by addressing the social determinants of health as well as known biomedical features of community health. In addition, emphasis is placed on the application of epidemiological concepts and methods to solving Public Health problems.
The module is designed for self-study or flexible learning, which enables you to work through the course material at your own pace. Flexible learning also allows you to explore the material to whatever depth you prefer, and to skip over parts with which you are already familiar. This involves a variety of learning activities including reading, reflection, observation, analysis, research, calculation and application of theory and concepts to practice.
The Module Introduction outlines the module aims, learning outcomes and content that will be covered. It also includes the facts, figures and other information that you need to know about your assignment tasks and how they will be assessed, how to contact your lecturer, develop a work plan and other general information to help you complete the module. Remember also that the SOPH Programme Handbook provides additional contact information and administrative guidelines for submitting assignments. Please read the Module Introduction carefully and contact your lecturer if you have any concerns or questions. Take special note of section 3.3 which concerns Draft Assignments and the submission process.
We hope that you will enjoy the module and find it useful in your own efforts to improve community health.
Ehi Igumbor (Module Convenor)
School of Public Health
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag X17