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 an elective course that can be taken by students in all stages of the Master of Public Health, Master of International Public Health and Master of Health Management programs. It is also a core course of the Master of Infectious Diseases Intelligence program. This course comprises 6 units of credit towards the total required for completion of the study program. It can be taken by students doing other programs at UNSW or students studying at other institutions, on application.

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 for 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 group assignments. 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.

Teaching strategies

Internal students: The format of the course for internal students consists of 9 face-to-face and 4 recorded lectures given by tropical disease experts with experience in international settings. These 4 recorded lectures are available in Weeks 3, 6, 9 and 12 (ie, every third week) as either interactive lessons on the SmartSparrow Platform, or as a series of mini-lectures. Internal students will have weekly face-to-face tutorial sessions except for every third week when they will have the opportunity to participate in an online (non-compulsory) webinar with external students. Please see the Course Schedule on the final page of this document for further details. Face-to-face tutorials and online webinars will be facilitated by the course convenor and guest lecturers.

External students: The format of the course for external students consists of weekly two-hour lectures given by tropical disease experts with experience in international settings. 9 of these lectures will be available via UNSW Lecture Recordings Plus for external students to access within a few hours following the lecture. 4 of these lectures (Weeks 3, 6, 9 and 12) are available as either interactive lessons on the SmartSparrow platform, or as a series of mini-lectures.  Online discussions will take the place of tutorials, with an online webinar (non-compulsory) held every third week for you to interact with your peers and course convenors in real time. External students will have tutors who 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 assessment.


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 - 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 notes and readings
  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.