The goal of the programme is produce graduates and professionals specializing in teaching and research in population and the social dimensions of health.
Candidates to this programme must have obtained first class at the bachelor’s level or a Masters degree in one of the following areas: Population, Health, Geography, Economics, Sociology, Development Studies, Government, Business Management, Biological, Physical or Agricultural Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics
The target groups for the programme are graduates from any field who are interested in the interface of population and socio-economic aspects of health.
Since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) of Cairo, 1994, there has been a new orientation towards the interface of population and development, a perspective, which has been reinforced in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The nature of other demographic variables namely fertility, migration (both internal and international), and urbanization have also undergone transformation with changes in national and global development. For instance, levels of fertility in some African countries have declined very fast; some have plateaued, while others have remained high within the last two decades. Mortality, especially among children has also declined. Among the population agenda are identifying strategies, processes and indicators in population, which can be used to assess the achievement of the MDG, which cover a wide range of demographic variables.
The spread of diseases in time and space, perception of aetiology of diseases, attitudes to and health seeking behaviours are functions of individual and collective attributes of a group of people. Changes in socio-economic conditions and demographic characteristics give rise to a number of health challenges such as obesity, sexually transmitted infections, emergence of new diseases (e.g. Ebola, avian flu and SARS) and those associated with ageing. The proportion of the population aged 65 years and above is rising due to increases in expectation of life as a result of improved health facilities, sanitation and changes in diets. One outcome of longevity is the emergence of degenerative diseases.
Current thinking in population education is to train students who have analytical skills in both technical and substantive demography. The essential skills include analytical skills for data collection, management and analysis, problem-solving skills and decision-making skills which involve ability to weigh options and take decisions. There is also the need for a generation of students who can be critical in their analysis of population and health interface as well as interested in life-long learning as professionals in the field of population. Teaching and learning, will be geared towards the development of such skills which will enable them contribute to the search for strategies for the socio-economic development of the country.
The main objective of the programme is to undertake teaching and research in population science and social dimensions of health at the graduate level. The focus will be on aspects of technical and substantive demography and the socio-political and economic dimensions of population and health. The specific objectives are to: provide avenues for students to develop analytical, problem-solving and decision-making skills in population and socio-cultural and economic aspects of health; promote research relating to the interface of population and socio-cultural dimensions of health; and produce the next generation of academics in population and development.