School: School of Social Work - Guwahati Campus
Social work with its simultaneous focus on human dignity and quest for Social Justice has evolved into a generalist profession which combines skill-sets and methods known to and employed by professionals according to the situation at hand. With only few universities in the North East region providing Social Work Training at a Masters level, it becomes all the more pertinent for TISS with its 75 years of experience in Social Work and Social Sciences education and research to step in. The curriculum has been designed keeping the needs of the country as well as the region in mind, while retaining the global ideals of TISS and the social work profession. The proposed curriculum draws from the existing programmes in TISS Mumbai and extends the scope to include some changes and combinations in keeping with the needs and aspirations of the region and the profession in general.
TISS has over the years been engaged with the North East Region through various Government Projects, support to universities and NGOs and also through the network of its alumni from the region. From this association emerged the need to train young workers with a heightened sensitivity to issues concerning the people and environment around them as well as an ability to view and respond to situations as required. The Guwahati Campus of TISS was envisioned with the idea of reaching out to the area. TISS – Guwahati Campus now offers an MA in Social Work in following specializations:
The M.A. in Social Work programmes provide research and practice within a framework that is in tune with the existing and emerging needs and realities of India and the North East region while providing the larger picture of developmental and human professions around the world. The course objectives are to create Social Work professionals who are in a position to respond to the area and also take on the role of development workers elsewhere in the country and abroad. It would help the students develop a comprehensive interdisciplinary knowledge, skills and attitude on a range of issues pertaining to development, communities, social entrepreneurship and the cross sectional aspects of the same. The students after graduating can act as a catalyst to bring about positive change in society using enterprise and an in-depth understanding of communities and their environment within a framework of social work values.
According to World Health Organisation, "the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being..." Even after 65 years of Independence public health in India still remains to be one of the major challenges of the state. Though India is one of the signatories of the Alma Ata declaration of 1978, which aimed at “Health for All by 2000”, some of the health indicators are worse than that of the least developed countries. While struggling to deal with double burden of diseases, the issues such as severe malnutrition and maternal mortality continue to unsettle whatever little progress India made in the past few decades. According to the latest reports, India is experiencing a resurgence of various communicable diseases such as Malaria, Dengue, Cholera, Encephalitis, Kala azar, and Leptospirosis.
As the economy is growing, the issue of access to affordable health services still troubles bulk of the population. India being one of the most privatized health systems in the world, the out of pocket expenditure on health is one of the highest in the world. With the introduction of WTO-TRIPS compliant product patent regime and with the increasing takeovers of domestic pharmaceutical companies by foreign players, the drug prices are skyrocketing at unprecedented levels. Thus, increasing drug prices are also a burden to both the patients and public exchequer.
Issues such as social and economic stratification and resultant exclusion in the access to health services is another important area of concern. India being highly stratified society in terms of caste, class and gender, the inequities are very much reflected in the health outcomes as well to a great extent. Rural and urban divide in the health inputs and outcomes is another area of concern for the health policy makers. Similarly some of the tribal areas of different parts of India have one of the worst health indicators of the region.
Even though the government has introduced massive programmes such as National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), the sector still continues to face systemic problems. It is also important to note that the government has initiated the preparatory process to introduce Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to deal with the health issues of the country. The state level discrepancy in health indicators is another set of challenges when national level programmes are planned and implemented. A systematic approach which includes preventive, rehabilitative and curative aspects is needed to deal with the health issues in India. Therefore, the present context demands qualified and trained workforce for the health sector.
Social work in public health course aims to provide an understanding of India’s health system as well as health problems to students so that the students will have a better understanding of the health realities.
Nature of the Programme
This course has been developed along the lines of the MA Social Work in Public health course offered at TISS, Mumbai, with modifications (The efforts put in by the course development team in Mumbai are gratefully acknowledged). This course is designed to enable the students to understand both the health systems as well as health situation in India through class room engagements and fieldwork. This course will enable students to work in different settings such as tribal, rural and urban. The class room engagements will help the students to understand various theories, ideologies and policies with regard to public health in the micro, meso and macro socio-economic, political and cultural contexts. The fieldwork is designed to provide exposure to various health systems and practices. During the fieldwork students are placed in developmental organizations working on health issues. Apart from these, students will get opportunity to organize and participate in various national and regional seminars and conferences on health issues.
Objectives of the course
1. To understand the scope of social work practice in public health within a developmental and human rights perspective.
2. To develop skills of working with individuals, groups and communities on public health issues.
3. To develop skills in work at micro, meso and macro levels through strategic planning, governance, advocacy, activism, and research in a variety of institutional and non-institutional settings, and contexts including disaster and conflict.
4. To develop ability to work with other human sciences with an inter-disciplinary approach
5. To develop sensitivity to various ethical issues and practices in public health and social work and engage actively in various regulatory bodies overseeing health ethics and human rights.
Distribution of Credit Hours:
Social Work Practice Courses
Introduction to Mental Health (CBCS)
Health Services System
Community Health Processes and Practice
Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Vulnerable Groups and Health
Health Policy ,Programmes and Legislation
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