UW: Public health in humanitarian action

  • Course description

    The overall objective of the module is to provide an insight into necessary public health actions at emergency and other humanitarian crisis. Health is a basic human right and emergency situation (both sudden as well as longitudinal crisis) has always a negative impact on health of people involved. A prompt and relevant coordinated help may mitigate serious health risk and alleviate long term consequences affecting physical and mental status.

    Graduates should be able to actively participate in managerial activities and support field work onsite. The module will deliver necessary knowledge on medical, social and psychological aspects of needs assessment. Moreover, it equips students with a “tool box” of practical solutions useful when a crisis requires prompt actions.
  • Main themes

    • Interdisciplinary context of public health and basic health needs
    • International public health system and priorities in an emergency – international cooperation and its challenges
    • Rapid Health Needs Assessment and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Humanitarian Action
    • Food and Nutrition in an emergency and after it
    • Outbreaks of infectious diseases
    • Psychosocial aspects of humanitarian actions and negotiations for health needs
    • Management of health and social resources
    • Health care systems and sustainability of humanitarian aid
  • Learning outcomes

    In conformity with the learning outcomes set out by the NOHA network, students should achieve the following learning outcomes by the end of this module:
    • Has a clear understanding of personal health and safety risks in disasters. 

    • Has a comprehensive understanding of public health in different emergency contexts, including the impact of various humanitarian action interventions on the needs and rights of crisis-affected people.
    • Has demonstrated ability to integrate a public health response into the often 
complex social and cultural environment. 

    • Has developed capacity to cope with personal health & security issues. 

    • Has demonstrated the necessary skills for communicating public health situations and conclusions, to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

    • Has demonstrated ability to plan and implement health interventions in emergencies regarding food security, water & environmental health, communicable diseases, psycho-social/psychological issues, health care services and health information systems.
    • Has demonstrated the capacity to take responsibility for specifying clear ethical standards in humanitarian intervention.
  • Teaching and learning methodology

    Each seminar begins with a brief introduction and summary of the necessary knowledge regarding the main topic (not more than 30 minutes). The next stage is a presentation of a problem questions/case study requiring engagement of students. The rest of the seminar consist of discussion on the potential causes/solutions and is summarised from the practical perspective (what can be used in real life). Finally, students receive recommendations for readings necessary for the next seminar.

    Problem-based learning is intended to provide students with both knowledge and practical tools to be trained during seminars. As a final assignment, students will write an essay with a practical analysis of selected crisis (voluntary chosen). 
  • Assessment methods and criteria

    All participants will be requested to provide a 4-page report with a critical analysis of voluntary selected crisis or emergency. The task includes literature research and selecting necessary information and drawing lessons sections (what went well and what should be improved).
    1. The scope of literature/fact research results (quantitative – at least 10 sources) 

    2. The critical approach for evaluating facts – drawing conclusions (qualitative – precision 
and logical relevance of conclusions). 

Last updated: 4 November 2016

This site uses cookies to enhance user experience and to track usage statistics. For more information, see NOHA’s Data Privacy Policy.