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Title: Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases
Keywords: Non-communicable diseases
Health systems
Health promotion
Disease prevention, control and elimination
Burden of diseases
Country: Belgium
Institution: Belgium - Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine
Course coordinator: Prof. José Luis Peñalvo
Marjan Pirard
Date start: 2022-04-04
Date end: 2022-04-23
About duration and dates: 3 weeks
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Face to face
Course location: Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine
Nationalestraat 155
B-2000 Antwerpen

tropEd Representative:
Govert van Heusden,
ECTS credit points: 5 ECTS credits
SIT: 78 contact hours + 56 self-study hours = 134 hours SIT
Language: English
At the end of the course the participants should be able to:

1. Appraise the characteristics and epidemiology of NCDs in LMICs including their complex relationship with communicable diseases
2. Measure, assess and compare the burden of disease of NCDs in different settings
3. Analyse the determinants of NCDs and their interaction, at multiple levels (biological, environmental, behavioural and social)
4. Critically appraise the evidence on NCD prevention and control interventions including emerging issues and operational challenges
5. Develop and plan the implementation and assessment of evidence-based strategies to reduce the burden of NCDs, considering the health system’s context, and including national and global actors, beneficiaries, and available resources.
Assessment Procedures:
Assessment will be based on an individual assignment that will be defined at the beginning of the course be based on a specific NCD (e.g. diabetes) in a specific context (e.g. country of origin of the student). The assignment will be developed throughout the 3 weeks, as the classes build on the key concepts. An oral presentation will be the output of the individual assignment, that should touch upon the points discussed during the course’s blocks:

Burden and Surveillance systems:
Assess current burden of specific NCDs: magnitude, comparison with other diseases, trends and projections, and strategies and systems for monitoring (LO’s 1 & 2)

Main determinants and drivers of a specific NCD burden, emerging risks, population-based strategies and policies to address them (LO’s 3 & 4)

Prevention and control:
Assess current strategies in a particular country for a specific NCD given its burden and determinants: from policy to strategy to implementation. Identification of evaluation documents and assessment of compliance with national and with global targets
(LO’s 4 & 5)

Students will prepare a presentation (PowerPoint) of maximum 15 minutes duration summarizing the assignment and including referenced notes supporting the information provided in the slides. The presentations will be evaluated by teachers involved in the course. The evaluation is based on the quality of the presentation contents and the analysis of the information reviewed and quality of the interpretation (75% of the overall score) and on the quality of the discussion with the evaluating panel (25% of the overall score).

Assessment criteria include the quality of:
- the assessment and comparison of the burden
- the analysis of the determinants at multiple levels
- the critical appraisal of the prevention and control strategies in terms of evidence-base, operational challenges in the given context, and compliance with targets

Re-sit sessions
Participants who did not obtain the pass mark of 50% (10/20) for the overall assessment mark for the module in the first assessment session, get the possibility to present a revised version of the assignment(s) in a second (re-sit) session.
The course content will be organised in 3 blocks:
• Burden of NCDs and surveillance
• Determinants of NCDs
• Prevention and control of NCDs

The content of the course is divided in three interconnected blocks that cover the burden of NCDs, the main determinants and risk factors, and the strategies to address NCDs from a public health and health systems perspective. The course focuses on highly prevalent NCDs in LMIC, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, and their comorbidities, as well as cancer and mental health.
During the first block, an overall introduction to the epidemiology of NCDs is presented, the figures of the global and regional burdens are discussed, and a comparative assessment of the most prevalent risks is introduced along with available tools and strategies for NCDs surveillance. Special focus will be placed in emerging issues such as mental health and aging, as well as the interplay between NCDs and infectious diseases in LMIC.
The second block aims to understand the primary drivers and risks of NCDs onset and development. As largely preventable diseases, the role of lifestyle and social determinants will be emphasized throughout this block. Priority issues such as the double burden of malnutrition, increasingly troubling LMIC and the current policy efforts to tackle NCDs through food-based strategies will be discussed.
In connection to the last issue, the third block will address the prevention and control of NCDs from the health systems perspective. Issues such as chronic care models, strategies supporting self-management, and health systems adaptation will be discussed. This last block will include also field visit and hands-on experience on instruments to monitor implementation of models.
Throughout the course concepts will be introduced with focused lectures and illustrated by case-studies, and classroom discussions aiming to enhance the participant’s capability to critically assess the burden and the determinants of NCDs, and to identify the most important drivers to inform effective strategies to tackle NCDs contextualized to specific settings.
Exchange of experience is essential in the learning process.
Teaching and learning methods consist of interactive lectures (38 hrs), group work on case studies (14 hrs), field work (including preparation, site visit, group work, presentations and discussions) (10 hrs), coached individual work for the assignment (8 hrs) and presentations for the assignments (4 hrs). One session (2h) will be dedicated to introduce the course & the assignment and one session (2h) for the course evaluation and conclusions.
In addition to the contact hours it is estimated that 56 hrs of personal work (self-study) are required for preparatory and additional reading and for the group assignment.
Academic degree
Applicants must hold a university degree of minimum 4 years equivalent to 240 ECTS (referred to as a Master’s degree in the European Union) in medicine or health sciences.

Applicants need at least 2 years of experience as health professional, clinician or researcher in NCD programmes, NCD prevention and care and/or related strategies addressing NCDs.

Language proficiency
Required level for English: TOEFL 580 (paper-based), 230 (computer-based) or 88 (internet-based), IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. (ITM Toefl Code 7727).
Note: native English speakers are exempt from these language requirements. Applicants whose first language is not English are equally exempt if they have obtained 60 credits from a higher education programme taught in English. Non-native English speakers are also exempt from the English language requirement if they have a higher education diploma from a Flemish Community higher education institution.

Additional admission requirement:
Short course applicants should have passed the exam of the MPH/tropEd core course or prove that they have attained a similar level of methodological competencies (i.e. basic knowledge on research methods, epidemiology and statistics) through other courses or professional experience.
max.25 students
Selection criteria
• Number of years and relevance of professional experience
• Quality of the Motivation letter
• Quality of References
• Relevance of additional training courses followed after the initial degree. A postgraduate degree in Public Health or equivalent is an asset for applicants who wish to follow the course outside the context of a master programme.
For 2021 course:
730 Euros for students from the European Economic Area (EEA)
1900 Euros for non-EEA students
ITM can offer a number of fellowships to applicants from developing countries. Academic acceptance in the course is conditional to, but no guarantee for such scholarships.
More information can be found on the ITM website (fees and scholarships)
tropEd accreditation:
This course was accredited at the GA Meeting in Rabat (EC TelCo) in February 2020. This accreditation is valid until April 2025.

1. World Health Organization. Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020 2019 [cited 2019 March 17]. Available from:

2. James SL, Abate D, Abate KH, Abay SM, Abbafati C, Abbasi N, et al. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 354 diseases and injuries for 195 countries and territories, 1990-2013;2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. The Lancet. 2018;392(10159):1789-858. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32279-7.

3. Ezzati M, Pearson-Stuttard J, Bennett JE, Mathers CD. Acting on non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income tropical countries. Nature. 2018;559(7715):507-16. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0306-9.

4. WHO STEPS surveillance manual: the WHO STEPwise approach to chronic disease risk factor surveillance. World Health Organization, 2005.

5. WHO Tackling NCDs: 'best buys' and other recommended interventions for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2017 2017. Report No.: Contract No.: WHO/NMH/NVI/17.9.

6. Afshin A, Penalvo J, Del Gobbo L, Kashaf M, Micha R, Morrish K, et al. CVD Prevention Through Policy: a Review of Mass Media, Food/Menu Labeling, Taxation/Subsidies, Built Environment, School Procurement, Worksite Wellness, and Marketing Standards to Improve Diet. Current cardiology reports. 2015;17(11):98. doi: 10.1007/s11886-015-0658-9. PubMed PMID: 26370554; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4569662.

7. Beaglehole R, Epping-Jordan J, Patel V, Chopra M, Ebrahim S, Kidd M, et al. Alma-Ata: Rebirth and Revision 3. Improving the prevention and management of chronic disease in low-income and middle-income countries: a priority for primary health care. Lancet. 2008;372:940–49.
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Date Of Record Creation: 2020-04-23 01:46:43 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2020-04-23 07:30:25 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2020 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2023-07-17 12:40:10 (W3C-DTF)

Fifteen years of the tropEd Masters in International Health programme: what has it delivered? Results of an alumni survey of masters students in international health

L. Gerstel1, P. A. C. Zwanikken1, A. Hoffman2, C. Diederichs3, M. Borchert3 and B. Peterhans2

1 Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
3 Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Charite – Universit€atsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany