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Humanitarian and Disaster Relief - Practical

Module titleHumanitarian and Disaster Relief - Practical
Module codeHPDM071
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Malcolm Hilton (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Disaster and Humanitarian relief module extends on the theme of Humanitarian Disaster Relief - Theory. The module revisits basic concepts around public health priorities and introduces concepts in security and risk mitigation that are fundamental to operating in natural or manmade disaster zones. The course aims to develop an understanding of optimal strategies for triage and trauma management in humanitarian context. Other areas to consider include protocols for safe movement and protection of the health force, hazard recognition (and avoidance) and managing hostility and conflict.

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 consider in detail the impact of a hostile environment on the safe functioning and movement of the health team.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Critically evaluate the fundamental health challenges in an acute disaster zone
  • 2. Demonstrate an ability to hypothesise what type of hazards may present in hostile humanitarian crises and mitigate their potential impact and occurence
  • 3. Evaluate standard operating procedures (SOPs) for travelling and communicating in hostile environment
  • 4. Evaluate specific infectious diseases and public health threats in a disaster zone

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 5. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the importance of risk assessment
  • 6. Demonstrate learning through simulation and debrief/reflection

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. Work together in groups collaboratively and effectively.
  • 8. Communicate ideas effectively in writing and in person to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • 9. 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:


Health priorities in disaster zones

Personal & Team security 

Safety in urban and rural disaster environments through hazard recognition and avoidance 

Key elements of humanitarian law

Infectious diseases in acute humanitarian context

Logistics of disaster relief

Triage and acute trauma management in humanitarian context

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 and Teaching35Residential course: Lectures, seminars, master-classes, practical exercises and group work in specialist areas, and contemporary debates
Guided Independent Study75Reading and preparation for scheduled sessions and coursework. Web-based learning; resource gathering and in-depth reading during the period of module delivery
Guided Independent Study40Preparation and writing of assignments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Verbal feedback 1-6Facilitator 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 – detailed analysis on ‘real world’ contemporary example1002000 words1-9Written


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written Assignment – detailed analysis on ‘real world’ contemporary example2000 words1-9During or prior to the August to September Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes


Please 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

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date