History of Public Health Graduate Programme in Malaysia

The Master of Public Health together with the Master of Pathology are first medical graduate programmes offered in Malaysia. The MPH programme started in 1973 in response to an acute need of the Ministry of Health for Medical Offices of Health to serve in the then fast expanding rural health services. The first batch of specialist graduated in 1974. Thus the programme during the first decade of its existence was aimed at producing competent public health specialist to serve the rural areas

By 1987, the environment has so changed that at a meeting between the Director General of Health Services of Malaysia and senior staff of the Department of SPM, a new kind of public health officer was required by the Ministry of Health, namely “a multipurpose public health doctor equipped with the managerial skills and able to work in the general public health as well as hospital setting”. By 1989, after a review of the curriculum, a new set of objectives were established for MPH programme.

The MPH Graduate should be

  1. Technically competent in the board field of Public Health;
  2. Equipped with managerial skills;
  3. Able to function as a leader in public services;
  4. Able to work in the Public Health as well as the hospital setting; and
  5. Able to work in the district, state as well as the national levels of the health services.

By 1992, many changes had already taken place in the country as well as in the national health services and it was felt that all these changes had an influence on the practice of public health. It was with this in mind that a concept paper to propose “a system of education or training at the postgraduate level and a career development channel in the field of Public Health in Malaysia” was produced by the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine. This culminated in the initiation of a 4-years training programme. The candidates over the years have contributed to the development of Public Health in Malaysia by engaging in research as one of the requirements of the programme.

The Master of Medical Science in Public Health (MMedScPH) programme introduced in 2001 was in response to the need of the Ministry of Health Malaysia for allied health staff who serve in the then fast expanding rural health service to have better knowledge of public health. The program was aimed at producing competent allied health staff, e.g., Environmental Health Officers, for Ministry of Health Malaysia, with a broad knowledge in public health to serve in the rural areas within the country. After a thorough curriculum review in 2016, the programme was stopped, and the MPH programme is offered to all eligible applicants including allied health staff since 2017.

Up until June, 2008, the following specialist has graduated from the department;

Programme Number of Graduates
1. Master of Public Health
2. Master of Medical Science (Public Health)
3. Master of Public Health (Hospital Management)
4. Master of Public Health (Health Service Management)
5. Master of Public Health (Epidemiology)
6. Master of Public Health (Family Health)
7. Master of Public Health (Occupational Health)

The graduates originate from the following countries,

Countries Number of Graduates
1. Bangladesh
2. China
3. Germany
4. Indonesia
5. India
6. Iran
7. Iraq
8. Libya
9. Malaysia
10. Mongolia
11. Myanmar
12. Nigeria
13. Pakistan
14. Papua New Guinea
15. Somalia
16. Sudan
17. United Kingdom
18. Yemen

They now serve with distinction in the Ministry of Health, universities and various National and International bodies (e.g. Malaysian Armed Forces, WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and in town and city councils) in Malaysia and around the world. (List of Alumni)

The following are the links to the list of MPH and MMedSc(PH) postgraduates candidates registered with the department for the current academic year ….

Country Number of Candidates
1. Malaysia 18
2. Sudan 13
3. Nigeria 6
4. Iraq 4
5. Arab Saudi 2
6. Iran 2
7. Myanmar 1
8. China 1
9. Bangladesh 1
10. India 1
11. Somalia 1
12 Yemen 1