School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Women’s and Children’s Health (PHCM3004)


This course gives an introduction to the health status of women and children in different contexts worldwide. In this course, “women’s and children’s health” refers to the health of all women, infants, children of all ages, adolescents, and families.  Each week will focus on a different issue in women’s and children’s health, presenting some of the major causes of mortality and morbidity and giving students the opportunity to discuss the most recent data, priorities and debates, and the current policy and programmes to improve health outcomes. Issues covered include health care services, poverty, gender-based violence, cultural practices, contraception and family planning, maternal health, early-age mortality (neonatal, infant, under-five), nutrition, HIV and malaria and pregnancy. At the end of the course, students will gain an appreciation of the interconnectedness of women's and children's health and reflect on the importance of the life course approach for women and children for advancing the global health agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Credit points

This is a elective course in the Bachelor of International Public Health (3880) comprising 6 units of credit towards the total required for completion of the study program.

Mode of study

Fully online.


There are no pre-requisite courses that need to be completed before undertaking this course.

Course aim

This course aims to:

  • Provide an understanding of the health status of women and children in a national and global context
  • Examine causes of major health problems and approaches to improving the health of women and children worldwide.
  • Provide an overview of thematic topics in women’s and children’s health to address current programs and policies through an appropriate social determinants approach in a national and global context
  • Provide a critical overview of current policies relating to women’s and children’s health particularly for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Course Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of historical developments in global initiatives to reduce maternal and child mortality.
  • Discuss the importance of women’s and children’s health in the international context drawing on key theoretical approaches.
  • Interpret relevant data and key indicators describing the health status of women and children in a population.
  • Outline the leading causes of death and morbidity among mothers, newborns and children under-five globally and nationally, including differences between Australia, the United States or England and low-middle income countries.
  • Identify the key stakeholders and organisations and agencies that impact on women’s and children’s health internationally.
  • Describe the determinants of health that influence women’s and children’s health status during the life course with reference to the continuum of care and the challenges to reducing women and child mortality and morbidity in resource-poor settings.
  • Examine assumptions inherent in cultural practices affecting women’s and children’s health.
  • Appraise current public health strategies addressing poor health outcomes for women and children internationally.
  • Reflect on the women’s and children’s health priorities in the Sustainable Development Goals, and think critically and creatively about how to reduce maternal and child mortality and morbidity and to advance women’s and children’s health by 2030.
Learning and teaching rationale

This course has been designed to support you in gaining a deep understanding of the determinants of women’s and children’s health globally, how these impact health outcomes and trends over time, the importance of addressing key health issues, and how approaches to improving the health status of these important populations may be applied to professional practice in public health. To this aim, the key learning and teaching strategies for this course are:

  • the provision of weekly lectures, including guest lectures from experts and practitioners in the field;
  • online discussion, multimedia content and interactive activities; and
  • the provision of key resources including articles, policy documents and government reports to read, websites to explore and analyse, videos and documentaries to view, and opportunities for further self-directed study and exploration.

These will be used to ensure that students are presented with a range of theoretical perspectives and practical examples from the field, together with key global guidance documents and resources for women’s and children’s health globally.

The course is delivered entirely online over a 10-week term. Students are expected to spend approximately 10 to 15 hours a week preparing for and actively participating in the course and preparing for and completing assessments tasks.


Assessment Task 1 - Online Blog & Comment on Peer's Blog
Weighting: 40%
Length: 1500 words + 200-word comment on peer’s blog

Assessment Task 2 - Major Essay
Weighting: 40%
Length: 2000 words

Assessment Task 3 - Online Discussion
Weighting: 20%
Length: 250 words maximum/post

Readings and resources

The following learning resources for this course are available on Moodle:

  • Lesson recordings and transcripts
  • Weekly lists of readings and viewings. These include ‘required readings and viewings’ that you will need to engage with to complete course activities and achieve course outcomes. Optional readings and viewings, and resources for further self-directed study and exploration are also provided.