This course offers Public Health capacity building for health professionals in developing countries. It builds on the course “Public Health The Basics” to provide examples of the practice of Public Health in understanding the burden, causes and interventions to control diseases, and how to evaluate Public Health interventions. The first section identifies the burden of illness, disease causation and the evidence base and policy options for interventions to reduce the population burden of illness. Crucial in the development of effective interventions is their evaluation.
The course is designed to help you:
- Understand the burden of illness, the causes and how to develop evidence-based interventions for some of the major diseases affecting populations in low-income settings.
- Become familiar with some key concepts of how to evaluate interventions.
- Reflect on how you might apply these learnings to your own setting.
There are two (2) modules to complete, which include:
Module 1: Patterns and Major Categories of Disease
Module 2: Evaluating Interventions
Approximate time for completion of this course is 16 hours at an average reading rate of 144 words/minute.
Engaging with this course
- To register for this course, complete the registration form. Begin the course with Module 1. For each lesson, read the description.
- Each lesson comprises introductory remarks. You can click on the collections of resources in each module.
- There is a forum on each module for reflection, and you will be able to add a new topic or respond to a previous one. You may want to share your learning from this and other readings, comment on the topics from your own experience, comment on others' posts, or provide feedback on how we can improve the content and/or presentation.
- There is a final quiz to assess your understanding of some important concepts. Click on the hyperlinks to take you to these items in each topic.
Requirements to obtain the certificate
You may browse this course for free to learn for your personal enrichment. There are no requirements.
To obtain a certificate, a learner must successfully complete:
- All reading requirements
- All discussion forums
- The final exam with a minimum of 70% and a maximum of 3 attempts and
- The self and course evaluation forms
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This section of the course aims to provide you with the opportunity to find out about health in a particular country, or region, and about major disease categories facing populations in the world. After completion of this Module, you should be able to:
- assess the global burden and patterns of diseases in different countries and how they are changing over time
- identify some of the challenges in the prevention and control of major communicable and non-communicable diseases in resources limited settings
When considering the Public Health aspects of a disease, we usually try to explore the burden of the disease on the population, the causes (by understanding the epidemiology and social and cultural determinants) and the evidence base to allow treatment and prevention and control that will reduce the burden of disease. In this introduction to disease in developing countries, we can only briefly touch on some of these aspects, and have chosen to explore in this Module the issues relating to the burden of disease and some aspects of prevention and control. We will not be discussing treatment options.
Prevention and control: Right at the start of this Module, it is worth thinking about interventions for global control and prevention programs (we will discuss how to evaluate these in the next section of this course). The most well-known global initiatives are the Sustainable Development Goals which replaced the widely acclaimed Millennium Development Goals (the UN site Millennium Development Goals 2015 and beyond is still available as a gateway to information about the MDGs). Many of the SDGs have a health component. You may find 'Real-time briefings on sustainable development and humanitarian action' of interest.6 Pages, 1 URL, 1 Forum
This Module aims to provide an introduction to the issue of evaluation. Irrespective of your profession and where you work, it is essential that you continuously evaluate whatever you do. In some aspects, evaluation is not optional and indeed may be a mandatory requirement. At the end of the section, you should be able to:
- understand how to apply a simple evaluation framework to any project or intervention
- know how to identify develop indicators that allow you to demonstrate the results of the project
- be able to identify 'successes' and 'lessons learned' for future projects.
The Lancet editorial Evaluation: the top priority for global health states: "Evaluation must now become the top priority in global health. Currently, it is only an afterthought. A massive scale-up in global health investments during the past decade has not been matched by an equal commitment to evaluation. This complacency is damaging the entire global health movement. Without proper monitoring and accountability, countries and donors--and taxpayers--have no idea whether or how their investments are working."
Evaluation can be defined both as a means of assessing performance and to identify alternative ways to deliver. For example, the new Canadian Federal Evaluation Policy developed by the Treasury Board of Canada defines evaluation as "the systematic collection and analysis of evidence on the outcomes of programs to make judgments about their relevance, performance and alternative ways to deliver them or to achieve the same results.”
As you explore the resources below, consider this case scenario:
Imagine that you're a member of a project team who has been commissioned by your Ministry of Health to develop a project to reduce the impact of one major disease on your population. The Ministry is very keen to see the impact of their investment, and so you've been tasked with planning the evaluation of the project, to demonstrate your impact and learn lessons for the next project cycle. Remember that even though the evaluation takes place at the end of the project, you have to think about it from the beginning so that you can collect baseline data, monitoring data throughout the programme, and final data at the end so that you can show an impact - if you only think about evaluation at the end, then you won't necessarily have the baseline data, so you won't know if you've had an impact.1 Page, 1 URL, 1 Forum
At the end of the course, reflect on the overall lessons you have learned that may be of use in your work.
Please do reflect on what you have learned.
We will also welcome your feedback in this short survey. Click here to take you to the feedback survey form.
If you have completed the quiz and accessed the resources in each Module, you are eligible to gain a certificate. Click on the Certificate logo below.