The importance of public health is rising in Zambia. Although the country has made considerable improvements in reducing major health concerns, the shortage of public health workers and the unequal distribution of health services remain an issue.
In this article, you’ll learn about the career in public health: how to be a public health online professional, its career scope, growth, and benefits.
What Is Public Health?
According to Wikipedia, public health is defined as the science of preventing disease and improving the quality of life of individuals, organizations, and society through organized efforts. In general, public health jobs involve protecting and promoting the health of entire populations. It can be achieved by researching disease and injury prevention, detecting and treating infectious diseases, and promoting healthy lifestyles.
As a public health online professional, your job will be to prevent health problems from happening. You would do this by implementing educational programs, recommending policies, and managing health services.
Despite Zambia’s excellent progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, it still remains the primary cause of death in the country. Zambia still faces a generalized HIV pandemic with an estimated prevalence rate in adults being 13.5%. Diseases like malaria and cholera are also the major causes of hospitalization in the country.
The Zambian government has made significant efforts to combat the increasing public health concerns. In September 2000, Zambia was one of the 189 members of the UN that signed the Millennium Declaration. The declaration was a pledge to end extreme poverty and deprivation by the end of 2015. Zambia pledged to address the following challenges:
- Eliminate extreme poverty and hunger
- Provide universal primary education
- Empower women and promote gender equality
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat diseases like HIV, malaria, and other diseases
- Work towards environmental sustainability
Out of these goals, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, and combat diseases relate specifically to public health.
And Zambia has made significant progress in achieving these goals. Over the past decade, Zambia has seen a 30% reduction in child mortality.
There have been slight improvements in HIV reduction, too. In 2018, HIV prevalence in Zambia was 11.3%, which equates to a 13% reduction in new infection since 2010.
Besides, Zambia’s NCD strategic plan also includes attempts in reducing diseases like cholera, malaria, cancers, and more.
While the country has shown positive results in improving the overall healthcare system, several issues still need to be addressed.
Inequality in public healthcare delivery remains to be one of the major concerns. There are close to 1,500 health facilities in Zambia, most of which are owned by the public sector. More than 55% of the Zambian population lives in rural areas. But, a majority of private health facilities are in urban areas, so the rural community has access to only public sector health facilities.
Another challenge is the dire shortage of health professionals in Zambia. The doctor-patient ratio in the country is 1 doctor per 12,000 people as opposed to the WHO’s acceptable standard of 1 doctor per 5,000 people.
Thankfully, the Zambian government is investing a lot in improving its public health infrastructure. This has created significant opportunities for public health jobs and BPH/MPH degree holders. So, public health is emerging to be a lucrative career option in Zambia.
Scope and Demand for Public Health Workers in Zambia
In a country like Zambia, which is determined to fight public health issues, the demand for public health workers is high. Despite several improvements in public health, the country still struggles with issues like infectious diseases, child mortality, and maternal problems. But lately, Zambia has surged its investments in the public health sector.
The Zambia UK Health Workforce Alliance has supported Zambia’s efforts to improve public health. This increase in funding and global support has encouraged public and private organizations to invest in public health workers.
There are countless career opportunities for public health online workers in both the public and private sectors.
To become a public health professional, you’ll require a Master’s degree in Public Health. BPH degree holders, along with graduates in Biology, Anthropology, Public Policy, Psychology, Sociology, and Medicine, can apply for an MPH degree program. MPH degree holders can get public health jobs in a wide range of organizations in both the public and private sectors, such as:
- Government agencies, like CDC and NIH
- Non-profit organizations, like WHO, American Red Cross
- Healthcare organizations, like public and private hospitals
- Educational institutions, both public and private
Career Growth and Salary of Public Health Workers in Zambia
Public health jobs in Zambia are highly rewarding and profitable. Public, private, and non-profit organizations are on the lookout for skilled and qualified public health workers. If you are an MPH degree holder with enough experience and expertise, you can work as a Public Health Specialist on an excellent public health salary.
|Role||Median Salary (ZMW)||Growth Projections|
|Public Health Specialist||510,000||3.6%|
|Environmental Health Practitioner||300,000||3.3%|
|Health Promotion Officer||36,000||1.6%|
|Health and Safety Consultant||186,000||11.6%|
|Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Officer||202,000||4%|
|Health Department Administrator||280,000||12%|
|Registered Public Nurse||236,000||2.5%|
|Public Health Field Investigator||240,000||8%|
The average public health salary of a Public Health Specialist in Zambia is ZMW 411,245.67–641,764.54 per Annum. It translates to $22,000–35,000 per annum, which is three times more than the average take-home earning in Zambia.
Apart from a Public Health Specialist, MPH degree holders can work on various public health jobs, such as:
- Epidemiologist (ZMW 603,000)
- Environmental Health Practitioner (ZMW 300,000)
- Health Department Administrator (ZMW 283,000)
- Environmental Health and Safety Officer (ZMW 202,000)
- Health and Safety Consultant (186,000)
- Environmental Health and Safety Officer (ZMW 202,000)
How to Set up a Career in Public Health
Lately, the field of public health in Zambia has grown increasingly competitive. Excellent public health salary and growth projections up to 12% per year have encouraged degree holders to pursue their careers in public health.
To get public health jobs, you’ll need a degree in public health. In Zambia, there are two public health specializations: Bachelor’s in Public Health (BPH) and Master’s in Public Health (MPH). However, BPH is too common in Zambia now, so you’d need an MPH degree to outshine the competition.
If you are a degree holder of any other discipline, you can still apply for an MPH degree. It is a two-year program that provides the necessary knowledge and experience to become a skilled public health worker.
5 Reasons to Choose a Career in Public Health
Let’s take a look at 5 reasons why you should get an MPH degree from schools offering public health in Zambia.
1. High demand
Public health professionals are in high demand, not only in Zambia but the rest of the world. If you get a degree in MPH, you’ll never need to worry about job security. As discussed before, you can work on a plethora of job roles as an MPH degree holder.
2. Excellent public health salary and career growth
In addition to an in-demand profession, public health is also a highly rewarding and profitable career. MPH degree holders with five to ten years of experience in public health are likely to receive excellent public health salary and growth projections. Even MPH freshers working as consultants and practitioners can make twice more than the average public health salary in Zambia. And if you choose to go abroad, opportunities are endless.
3. Respectful profession
Public health jobs allow you to serve society. It enables you to bring a positive change in the lives of individuals and organizations. Thus, a career in public health is full of respect and recognition. If you dedicate your time and expertise in fighting a major problem, you’ll get respect from the entire nation.
Besides, this profession also enables you to make a global impact. If you work in backward countries and bring a positive change in the lives of their citizens, you can earn global recognition too.
4. Service to human
Public health professionals get the opportunity to improve the health and well-being of other people and communities. This career allows you to make a lasting impression to improve society. You can work with NGO’s and non-profit organizations to uplift the disadvantaged population of your country.
Helping others gives a sense of happiness and fulfillment. So, if you’re looking for a satisfying career that provides you with peace of mind, public health is the right pick.
5. Nationwide impact
A career in public health allows you to create a nationwide impact. You get a chance to work with the leading health organizations or institutions of the country to bring a change. If you want to do something for your country, being a public health professional is an excellent way. You can work closely with government bodies and address some of the most sensitive issues of your country.
MPH Degree Program with Texila American University
Texila American University (TAU) offers an MPH degree program that helps you develop the skills required to address and resolve complex health issues. Completing this program would empower you with the capabilities to create innovative solutions and create a healthier environment in your society.
Key Takeaways from the Public Health program
This BRICS model-based distance learning program empowers you with all the knowledge and expertise required to build your career in public health. This course covers all the essential public health topics, including:
- Environmental health
- Public health policy
- Occupational health
- Public health nutrition
In addition to theoretical learning, you will also be a part of project works that will help you develop skills.
Public health is one of the fastest-growing professions in Zambia. With the country focusing a lot improving its public health infrastructure, MPH degree holders are in high demand. If you wish to give your career a defining path, check out schools offering public health in Zambia, like TAU.
We wish you luck and hope you’ll have a successful career in public health.