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Humanitarian and Disaster Relief - Theory

Module titleHumanitarian and Disaster Relief - Theory
Module codeHPDM070
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Malcolm Hilton (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

11 weeks

Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will explore the concept of disaster and major incident health preservation and its importance in humanitarian aid and relief. Real world examples will be utilised to examine a range of public health issues of global importance from a variety of perspectives. A range of case studies relating to epidemics the distribution of infectious diseases, including person-to-person contact and prevention. Water and air pollution will be discussed and mitigation measures to preserve life and establish safe sanitation.

Emergency Planning Resilience and Response (EPRR) will be examined using a well-established UK model to enact a chain of command.

No pre-requisites or specialist knowledge are required to undertake this module, which is well suited to interdisciplinary learning.  Delivery is online, interspersed by personal study undertaken at your own pace and supported by our internet resources.

Module aims - intentions of the module

In this module you will further critically examine the challenges of providing safe and effective healthcare in a range of challenging environments following major incidents. You will undertake risk assessments and appraise disease mitigation options. You will appreciate how the military or government services set up an EPRR chain of command.


Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Critically evaluate the drivers of infectious diseases following a disaster in developed and developing countries
  • 2. Demonstrate an ability to hypothesise where the future risk of ill health may emerge.
  • 3. Appreciate how Emergency Planning Resilience and Response (EPRR) is enacted in the UK

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Show detailed understanding of current trans-national efforts to manage emerging infectious diseases on a global scale
  • 5. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the importance of risk assessment

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the importance of risk assessment
  • 7. Consider problems in a holistic way, and to be aware of the drivers of health and wellbeing.
  • 8. Work together in groups collaboratively and effectively.
  • 9. Communicate ideas effectively in writing to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • 10. Critically engage with research evidence drawn from sources such as books, journals, and the internet.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module's precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:


Introduction to module and assignment guidelines

•             EPRR and Humanitarian aid

•             Key concepts of public health

•             Risk assessment

•             Air, water, sanitation – emergency sanitation in the field

•             Pollution and toxicology

•             Personal and organisational resilience

•             Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions

•             The role of the Red Cross

•             WHO UNICEF roles

•             Introduction to the Sphere Charter – Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response

•             Personal security

•             Epidemics – cholera etc.

•             Malaria and climate change

•             Environmental behavioural change

•             PHE Scientific Technical Advice Cell (STAC)

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning & teaching activities15 hours Online taught content
Guided independent study35 hours Session preparation and follow up work utilising resources provided on eLearning platform
Guided independent study100 hours Reading and written assignment preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
QuizzesEach taught session1,2,4,5Facilitator and peer feedback online

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written assignment 1501500 words1-10Written
Written assignment 2501500 words1-10Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written assignment 1 (50%)1500 words1-10Typically within six weeks of the result
Written assignment 2 (50%)1500 words1-10Typically within six weeks of the result

Re-assessment notes

Please see the Student Handbook for advice


Please also refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:




Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The Sphere Project Handbook


World Health Organization (WHO) (2002), 25 Questions & Answers on Health & Human Rights. Health & Human Rights Publication Issue No. 1. Geneva.


Noji, E (ed.) (1997), The Public Health Consequences of Disasters. Oxford University Press. New York.


WHO and PAHO (2001), Health Library for Disasters. Geneva.


Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

human health, disease, humanitarian aid, humanitarian relief, disaster management, Public Health EPRR

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date