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Unit information: Global Burden of Disease and Healthcare Provision in 2021/22

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, diarrheal disease, mental health, anti microbial resistance, blindness and reproductive health. 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 importance of the social and cultural context for public health planning is considered.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  • understand approaches to the measurement of health and disease
  • know sources of data for global disease patterns
  • be able to discuss comparisons and trends in the global burden of disease
  • be aware of the cultural determinants of disease recognition and health seeking behaviour
  • be aware of approaches to behaviour change
  • be able to discuss approaches to appropriate service provision in medically plural contexts.
  • understand approaches to the control of infectious diseases with high global mortality including acute respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis
  • appreciate the global importance of and approaches to mental health
  • understand issues related to climate change and disease threats
  • understand emerging non-communicable disease threats
  • be able to review progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals for a particular population
  • understand the importance of emergency response medicine in developing country settings

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


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. COBM31023).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.