Starting a career in public health will allow you to play a critical role in public health and safety. In this career, you will study the causes, behaviours and spread of diseases.

A public health professional is a person who studies disease trends as well as employs statistical techniques, risk evaluation, questionnaires, and trials to determine which variables contribute to the propagation of disease.

Scientists who work in this field investigate diseases in people around the world. Additionally, these scientists collect and analyse data to investigate health issues. A career in public health may be something you want to think about if you have an interest in research, medicine, and solving some of the most significant health issues that contemporary society faces. However, you need to acquire certain skills and qualifications to start a career in public health.

In this piece, I will guide you through the steps involved in pursuing a career in public health.

Steps to Pursue a Career in Public Health

  1. Obtain an O’level Result

    An O’level result is an important document required to pursue a career in public health. You need to have a strong foundation in science subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, English and Mathematics. Therefore, you should have a minimum of credits in your O’level results. This will enable you to have a chance of getting admitted into the university.

  2. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

    You need to acquire a bachelor’s degree before you can start a career in public health. You need to acquire a bachelor’s degree in public health from an accredited institution. Additionally, you can gain a bachelor’s degree in disciplines such as biology, biostatistics or health science. This degree will give you the foundational knowledge you need as well as the chances of getting into a master’s program.

  3. Choose an Area of Specialisation

    This career is a comprehensive one. You would be required to have comprehensive knowledge and skills to enable you to work in any sector. However, you can also decide to have an area of speciality where you focus your expertise. You can specialise in areas such as clinical epidemiology, environmental epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, chronic disease epidemiology etc.

  4. Earn a Master’s Degree

    A master’s degree is very important to get a job in public health . You should earn a master’s degree in public health, epidemiology or a related scientific field. Additionally, this degree can enable you to explore various specialisations in this field and gain knowledge in them.

  5. Gain Practical Experience

    You can gain practical experience through internships or by volunteering. This experience can enable you to gain skills such as working with data, using statistical software and creating reports. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to have hands-on experience with your theoretical knowledge. You can apply to health and government facilities.

  6. Pursue a Doctorate Degree

    You will need a doctorate if you want to work in academia. Additionally, a doctorate can also allow you to work in higher-level clinical or research positions. This degree would also require concentrating on a particular area of specialisation.

  7. Develop Professional Skills

    You need to build relevant skills that will enable you to perform efficiently in this role. You should build skills such as research skills, medical knowledge, statistical analysis, problem-solving, data analysis and communication.

Areas you can Specialise in Public Health

  1. Clinical Epidemiologist

    A clinical epidemiologist investigates the spread of illness. Furthermore, they plan to apply research to advance patient care, enhance results, and stop the spread of illness.

  2. Applied Epidemiologist

    An applied epidemiologist searches for markers to assist in identifying diseases as they impact communities. Additionally, they use this information to create policies for healthcare reform.

  3. Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist

    A pharmaceutical epidemiologist studies the impact of various medications on public health.

  4. Chronic Disease Epidemiologist:

    These epidemiologists study chronic diseases to determine the underlying cause, as well as their impact on health.

  5. Veterinary Epidemiologist:

    Veterinary epidemiologists examine illness trends as well as how they are transmitted in animals.

  6. Environmental Epidemiologist:

    An environmental epidemiologist studies how environmental conditions affect people’s well-being.

  7. Disaster Epidemiologist

    Disaster epidemiologists gather data regarding the negative effects of catastrophes. Additionally, they devise a contingency plan for potential future epidemics.

  8. Infectious Epidemiologist

    These epidemiologists conduct investigations aimed at avoiding pandemic infections and disorders.

Skills and Attributes Required of Public Health Professionals

  1. Critical thinking skills
  2. Communication skills
  3. Attention to detail
  4. Mathematical and statistical skills
  5. Problem-solving skills
  6. Data Analysis
  7. Public Speaking Skills

Universities in Africa that Offer Public Health

  1. University of Nigeria, Nigeria
  2. Cairo University, Egypt
  3. University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  4. Zagazig University, Egypt
  5. Alexandria University, Egypt
  6. University of Gondar, Ethiopia
  7. Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  8. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  9. North-West University
  10. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
  11. Rhodes University, South Africa
  12. University of Lagos, Nigeria
  13. University of Cape Town, South Africa
  14. Tanta University, Egypt
  15. University of Nairobi, Kenya
  16. Moi University, Kenya
  17. Makerere University, Uganda
  18. University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  19. Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  20. University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
  21. Ain Shams University, Egypt
  22. University of Ilorin, Nigeria
  23. Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
  24. Tunis University, Tunisia
  25. University of Pretoria, South Africa
  26. Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria
  27. University of Ghana, Ghana
  28. Jimma University, Ethiopia
  29. Mansoura University, Egypt
  30. University of Calabar, Nigeria

In Conclusion, pursuing a career in public health  requires you to know data analysis and statistics. Additionally, you should have the potential capacity to collaborate and communicate with fellow professionals or epidemiologists and other healthcare professionals. Furthermore, this career is a promising one which has potential career opportunities and high earning potential. Therefore, with true determination, dedication and acquiring the right education and skills, you are sure to enjoy a fulfilling career.

Good luck!

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