What the End of Classwork Looks Like in the Global Health Programme

Before I shift my focus from classwork to my thesis (which has to be submitted in May), I would like to share my experiences from the last three modules of the course: Infectious Diseases, Maternal & Child Health and Non-communicable Diseases, Injuries and Emergencies.

Infectious Diseases

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After completion of the course the student should be able to: Understand and describe the importance of the most burdensome communicable diseases in a global health perspective, including pathogenesis, treatment aspects, disease control mechanisms and research needs. Have knowledge on global epidemiology of the most important infectious diseases and the capacity to view and discuss prevention aspects from a social, medical and ethical perspective. Analyse factors affecting the use of anti-microbial drugs, both on macro and micro level, and analyse impacts of drug resistance on global health.

In this module, we learn about a large number of communicable diseases, from HIV, turberculosis and Malaria to neglected diseases such as lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis and of their global burden. We also evaluate strategies implemented to address infectious diseases, such as IMCI (integrated management of childhood illnesses) and WASH (water and sanitation hygiene) and gain greater insight into the challenges of vaccine development and antibiotic resistance. A considerable portion of the couse is a group assignment in which we research and design a scientific poster and present it to the rest of the class (see photo above).

Maternal & Child Health

After completion of the course the student should be able to: Describe, explain and analyse variations in maternal and child/adolescent mortality and morbidity patterns and their determinants in and between countries and over time, including the main diseases/symptoms causing maternal and childhood mortality and morbidity and how they can be treated/prevented. Describe, explain and analyse the main international interventions and policies for prevention and cure of morbidity and mortality related to sexual and reproductive health and childhood/adolescence. Critically analyse the evidence base of interventions and policies. Describe and evaluate the vulnerability and the risks women and children are exposed to in low and middle-income settings but also in emergency situations.

This is a slightly less intensive class.  Again, the main focus is on a group assignment during which we write a paper on reduction of child mortality, reduction of maternal mortality or family planning  in selected countries that have been successful. The aim is to paint a picture of the country context, describe the interventions and evaluate why these were successful and whether they could be used as blueprints for other countries.

Non-Communicable Diseases, Injuries and Emergencies

After completion of the course, the student should be able to: Describe and analyse the impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), injuries, natural emergencies and conflicts on global health in countries at different economic levels. Describe and analyse different factors influencing NCD and injuries and corresponding preventive actions. Understand and analyse how the negative impact of NCD and injuries can be reduced and how this should be prioritised in countries with different economic conditions. Describe and assess how conflicts and natural emergencies affect global health. Formulate and assess strategies and interventions of greatest importance to mitigate negative effects on health, caused by emergencies and conflictsdisease transition and rising incidence of injuries.

As the saying goes, there is “no rest for the weary”! When we get to the last module, we are starting to feel the effects of almost five months of solid course work. We are no longer as eager to jump out of bed early in the morning to get to school for an early start and a long day,  but we have one last hurdle to jump over and it looks pretty high! In addition to attending class all day long, we have to do an individual assignment in which we describe and analyze the impact of a non-communicable disease or injury on health in a specific setting and design a strategy to minimize the impact. We also have two peer review the work of two of our classmates. Thankfully, this is the only class without a written exam!

So, if you are applying for the Master’s Program in Global Health, you now know what you can look forward to during the first five months of course work. You will learn a lot – hopefully enough to help you successfully meet the challenge of writing your master’s thesis!

Remember, you are always welcome to contact me with any questions: tanya.lundin@stud.ki.se

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