School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Tropical Disease Control (PHCM9784)

image - Tropical Disease Control

This course aims to equip candidates with an insight into the realities and challenges of the prevention and control of tropical diseases, and the promotion of health in developing, remote and resource poor countries, as well as a wide range of appropriate strategies to manage such challenges. The course will be based on real case scenarios and examples, presented by a wide range of public health expertise with direct practical experience.

Credit points

This course is a core course in the Master of Infectious Diseases Intelligence program and the specialisation in Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and Control, and is also an elective course in the Master of Public Health, Master of International Public Health and the Master of Health Management programs. It comprises 6 units of credit towards the total required for completion of the study program. There are no pre-requisites for this course.

Mode of study

External (Distance) and Internal (Face-to-Face) classes on campus.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course you should be able to:

  • Identify the main types of tropical diseases common in developing countries
  • Analyse the causation and transmission mechanisms of tropical diseases and conditions
  • Critically analyse the key issues and challenges in the control of tropical diseases in resource poor settings
  • Assist in the development and implementation of prevention and control strategies for tropical diseases in resource poor settings
Learning and teaching rationale

This course will introduce you to tropical diseases control in resource poor countries and the application of evidence-based control measures in resource poor settings. This course will involve input from international experts in the field, but you will also be expected to play an active part in sessions and online discussions. The course is based on a model of adult learning where all students are responsible for actively contributing to the course and drawing on and sharing their depth of knowledge on their own health contexts. It is envisaged that there will be international students within the course who will, no doubt, know more about the domestic situation in their home country than the presenters, whose role will be to provide the tools, insights and concepts that students can apply to their own situation. Furthermore, there may well be domestic and international students who have direct experience in tropical disease prevention and control in developed or developing country settings, and this background will be utilised in tutorials.

Teaching strategies

Internal students: The format of the course for internal students consists of 10 face-to-face and 1 recorded lecture given by tropical disease experts with experience in international settings. The recorded lecture is available in Week 2 as interactive mini-lectures and a case study together with a weekly face-to-face lecture.  
Internal students will have weekly face-to-face tutorial sessions. They are strongly encouraged to participate in online activities with external students. Face-to-face tutorials will be facilitated by the course convenors and guest lecturers. Online activities will be facilitated by the course convenors.

External students:

The format of the course for external students consists of weekly two-hour lecture recordings given by tropical disease experts with experience in international settings. Ten of these lectures will be available via UNSW Lecture Recordings+ for external students to access within a few hours following the lecture. In Week 2, in addition to the weekly lecture recording, there is another lecture which is available as a series of interactive mini-lectures and a case study. You are strongly encouraged to complete the listed online activities (e.g. discussions, self-assessed quizzes, and interactive videos) to build on and enhance your learning. The course convenors will moderate the online discussions, but it is your responsibility to engage and create the discussion. You are encouraged to actively participate in critical debate as this will provide an enhanced learning experience and will also improve your performance in your assessment tasks.


The assessments include one formative assessment and two summative assessments. The formative assessment task will not contribute to your final mark whereas each of the two summative assessment tasks will. In this course, you will not be assessed on your ability to merely recite facts or reproduce information from other sources. Instead, you will be assessed on your ability to critically evaluate information and to demonstrate a depth of understanding on the topic.

Assessment 1 - Quiz
Weighting: 0%

Assessment 2 - Tropical Disease Summary
Weighting: 40%
Length: 1000 words

Assessment 2 - Essay
Weighting: 60%
Length: 2000 words

Learning resources

Learning resources for this course consist of the following:

  1. Course outline and readings (available in Moodle)
  2. Lectures slides (posted in Moodle)
  3. Lecture recordings (available in Moodle)
Recommended resources
Background reading material related to the lectures can be accessed through the course reading list available on Moodle.