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Unit information: Global Burden of Disease and Healthcare Provision in 2016/17

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Unit name Global Burden of Disease and Healthcare Provision
Unit code COBM31023
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Peter Vickerman
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will introduce students to infectious and non-communicable diseases of international importance and look at the changing face of international disease caused by globalisation. The challenges in management of diseases with high morbidities and mortalities, particularly from a public health perspective, are considered in more detail i.e. TB, HIV, malaria, water-borne disease, mental health and disability. Students will explore the important relationship of community development programmes (e.g. sanitation and water) for health. The challenge of healthcare provision in low income and differing cultural settings will be considered.


This unit aims to develop the student’s interest in and knowledge and understanding of:

  • Global patterns of diseases and health conditions of international importance and the complexities of their management from a public health and a medical viewpoint.
  • The different cultural management and experience of health.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit students will:

  • Appreciate the global burden of disease from a public health and epidemiological perspective.
  • Have developed deeper knowledge of infectious diseases with high global mortality including tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS, malaria, water-borne diseases, and meningitis
  • Understand key factors in changing patterns of health and illness and the part played by globalisation
  • Be able to critically analyse campaigns for control of specific diseases
  • Understand the global importance of disability and mental health
  • Have awareness of cultural determinants of disease recognition and health seeking behaviour.

Teaching Information

This unit will be taught in the form of 3 hour workshops using a variety of teaching methods including lectures, presentations, debates, and seminars. Up to date research will be reviewed and critically analysed. Students will be actively encouraged to access appropriate e-learning materials to supplement information acquired in teaching sessions.

Assessment Information

Summative assessment: 2 hour examination 70%, Group presentation of country case example of progress towards Sustainable Development Goals , 30%

Formative assessment: Student presentations of literature reviews

Reading and References

  • Merson M., Black R.E., Mills A.J., 3rd ed. (2012) Global Public Health: Disease, Programs, Systems, and Policies, Jones and Bartlett
  • Essentials of Global Health (2008) Skolnik R. Jones and Bartlett
  • Lee K and Collin J (2005): Global Change and Health (Open University Press)
  • Landon M (2005) Environment, Health and Sustainable Development (Open University Press)
  • Cook G, Zumla A (2002) Manson’s Tropical Disease: (Saunders)
  • Lucas JO, Gilles HM 4th edition (2004): Short Textbook of Public Health Medicine for the Tropics (Arnold)