1 – 31.10.2018

Public Health in Humanitarian Crises

Public Health in Humanitarian Crises
Course Dates: 01.10.2018 - 31.10.2018
Registration Dates: 01.08.2018 - 31.08.2018
Coordinating University: University of Eastern Finland
Coordinator: Mari Aalto, e-mail: mari.aalto(at)uef.fi
Credits: 5 ECTS
Course Level: General


Objective of this course is to introduce the students to the humanitarian crisis aspects of various types of disasters. Course will present real life examples of how public health is compromised in a disaster; how the human rights get violated; who are vulnerable groups; how environment suffers; how is life in chronic conflict situations; what are the mechanisms for psychosocial coping; what are the principles of knowledge management in disaster.

Students should learn of various effects of disasters and they get to know the basic strategies and components of a public health response to crisis situations caused by disasters.

The course will strengthen understanding of:

  • The concept of crisis
  • Causes (natural, man-made) of humanitarian crises and disasters
  • The general impact of crises in the light of recent examples
  • Environmental impact of disasters and humanitarian crises
  • Typical public health consequences of humanitarian crises
  • Mental health in disasters
  • Disaster preparedness and first response
  • Specific challenges of public health in complex emergencies
  • Water supply, sanitation, and food supplies in extreme conditions
  • Short-term and long-term management strategies of humanitarian crises
  • Role of various actors, international collaboration
  • Disaster epidemiology
  • Disaster prevention

Modes of study

  • Self-study of required readings
  • Web-based learning package for distant students
  • Web-based learning includes video-lectures, online lecture notes, writing learning diary, excercises, online discussion groups.
  • Successful completion of the course requires substantial amount of independent study 

Evaluation criteria: The final mark will consist of evaluation of assignments. Final grading: 1-5. 

Study materials: Required readings: 

Health in Humanitarian Crises. The Lancet, Vol. 390, No. 10109. Published: June 8, 2017. http://www.thelancet.com/series/health-in-humanitarian-crises

Disaster Risk Reduction in the United Nations: Roles, mandates and results of key UN entities. Geneva, Swizerland: United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), 2013  http://www.unisdr.org/files/32918_drrintheun2013.pdf 

Further study material and recommended reading will be provided during the course.

Additional information: A maximum number of UNIPID students is 30. Students will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. UEF students, please sign up via Weboodi.

Image by: 2006 Gabrielle Bardall, Courtesy of Photoshare

Registration for this course is closed.