Public Health Manager

The public health manager supervises the non-clinical operations of a public health organisation, such as a hospital, health department or medical facility. They are in charge of maintaining healthcare standards, managing finances, coordinating treatment programmes and providing an efficient healthcare operation.

Public health managers conduct and administer accounting, plan budgets, authorise expenditure, establish rates for the services and coordinate financial reporting.  They direct, supervise and evaluate the work activities of the medical, nursing, technical, clerical, service, maintenance and other personnel, and develop and implement organisational policies and procedures for the facility or medical unit.  Activity reports are prepared to inform management of the status and implementation plans of the programmes, services and quality initiatives.  They direct or conduct recruitment, hiring and training of personnel, and establish work schedules and assignments for the staff, according to the workload, space and equipment availability.

Other tasks are to monitor the use of diagnostic services, in-patient beds, facilities and staff to ensure the effective use of resources and assess the need for extra staff, equipment and services, and to develop and maintain computerised record management systems to store and process data such as personnel activities and information and to produce reports.  Facilities are inspected and building or equipment modifications recommended to ensure emergency readiness and compliance to access, safety and sanitation regulations.

Public health managers are also in charge of human resources within a healthcare system, as well as marketing new treatments and healthcare policies to the public.  Examples of public health services include providing influenza shots, distributing condoms, and educating the public on HIV and AIDS diseases and treatment options.  They develop instructional materials and conduct in-service and community-based educational programmes.

It is essential to keep up-to-date with advances in medicine, computerised diagnostic and treatment equipment, data processing technology, government regulations, health insurance changes and financing options.  They consult with medical, business and community groups to discuss service problems, respond to community needs, enhance public relations, coordinate activities and plans, and promote health programmes.  It is important to maintain communication between the governing boards, medical staff and department heads, by attending board meetings, and coordinating inter-departmental functioning.  Medical programmes or health services that promote research, rehabilitation and community health are developed or expanded and implemented.

How to Enter

Level of Schooling and School Subjects

National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course.

Each institution has its own entry requrements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics

Recommended  Subjects: Accounting, Economics


What to Study

A bachelor's degree, e.g. BSc in Public Health, may be acceptable for entry-level positions at smaller facilities, but at least a master's degree in a related field is required for larger facilities.  


  • hospitals
  • clinics
  • public health agences
  • group medical practices


Further Information

Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA)


Hospital Association of South Africa

6th Floor Fredman Towers

13 Fredman Drive

Sandton, 2196


Getting Started

  • speak to public health managers about their duties and responsiblities and ask to observe them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations