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Postgraduate Certificate - Introduction to Tropical Medicine and Challenges in International Health

Deadline: 15 juli 2023

Postgraduate Certificate

20 ECTS-credits



Over de opleiding


This postgraduate certificate programme consists of two courses:

  • Introduction to Tropical Medicine
  • Challenges in International Health


Are you a nurse/midwife, or another health professional? Do you want to gain or refresh your knowledge on diseases and health problems specific to tropical regions and contexts of vulnerability? Are you eager to broaden your horizons in health? Do you want to be better equipped to work in emergencies or with people in vulnerable situations globally? Do you have ambitions for a career in international health at local, national and international organizations?

Then this postgraduate certificate programme is for you.  

Introduction to Tropical Medicine (INTROMED):


This short course offers essential clinical and biomedical knowledge on diseases and health problems that occur in (sub)tropical settings and in vulnerable life stages (for example childhood or pregnancy), or other vulnerable settings (for example epidemics or migration). This course is an introduction for health professionals who lack exposure to these conditions or lack prior training. 


This course brings together ITM's expertise from different countries affected by tropical diseases and health problems. The content is based on scientific studies and enriched by in-house experiences and innovations. 

The 4-weeks course is offered in a “blended” format, with interactive online self-paced study material, and real time seminars (preferably face-to-face but online participation is possible, once a week on Friday morning). It can suit you as a working student, on the condition that you are free one morning per week, for real-time seminars. 

INTROMED is organised in English in September and in French in March-April. 

Challenges in International Health (CIH):


Recent diseases outbreaks such as the Ebola virus and the COVID-19 pandemic, and humanitarian emergencies due to the climate crises have urged health actors globally to recognise the need for improved crisis preparedness and emergency response. Due to demographic transitions, countries are faced with a rise in non-communicable diseases? while the prevention and control of infectious diseases still pose major challenges. Policy makers and governments need to ensure universal access to good quality care for all while paying particular attention to people in vulnerable situations.  

Some dichotomies such as local versus global, tropical versus non-tropical, communicable versus non-communicable, imported versus domestic are losing their relevance. International health needs to encompass all these perspectives/dimensions. 

These challenges require context-adapted and multidisciplinary responses. Evidence from basic and implementation research will be important to guide decision makers and health workers across the globe. 


This course on “Challenges in International Health” will provide you with a good understanding of the complex picture of health challenges globally in general and in deprived, vulnerable settings in particular. Through case studies from various settings, you will analyse the social, anthropological, political, economic and ecological determinants of health, and address health problems from different perspectives including disease control, health service organisation and health policies. You will gain understanding of the complexity of health challenges and learn how to develop, implement, and evaluate health interventions and formulate communication strategies. The course will give you both the theoretical and practical toolsets you need to advance your career. 


The 12-week course takes place on-campus at ITM. You will learn from the scientific expertise and field experience of a multidisciplinary teaching team and from your collaboration with a diverse group of fellow students from other disciplines (such as doctors, sociologists, pharmacists or biomedical professionals) and from different continents. 

“Challenges in International Health” is organised in English in autumn (October-December) and in French in spring (April-June). 


Upon completion of Introduction to Tropical Medicine, you will be able to: 

  • Describe the essential biomedical and clinical aspects of the major tropical, infectious and non-communicable diseases in terms of care, prevention and control  
  • Determine the conditions of safe blood transfusion in adults and children and understand the importance of a safe blood bank 
  • Describe the quality of antenatal care, postnatal care, basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care and comprehensive emergency obstetric care 
  • Explain specific health problems in pregnant women, neonates and children 
  • Discuss the integrated management of children and neonates with particular health problems, including undernourishment 
  • Identify specific challenges of laboratory diagnosis in low-resource settings 

Upon completion of Challenges in International Health, you will be able to: 

1. Regarding health problems prevention and control: 

  • Assess the importance and burden of a particular health problem in terms of frequency, severity, inequity, socio-economic cost and perception  
  • Discuss the different risk factors and determinants (ecological, genetic, social, economic, behavioral, health system related) of health and well-being of populations  
  • Formulate evidence-based and context-specific health programmes/interventions taking the available resources and the perspectives of stakeholders into account in both stable and emergency settings 
  • Address implementation challenges in the prevention and control of key health problems with particular attention for screening, surveillance, outbreak investigation, control and elimination and emergency responses using multisectoral approaches  

2. On health systems management and policies:  

  • Assess a variety of (local) health systems in terms of access, quality of care, organisation of services delivery, stewardship and intersectoral interfaces and collaborations  
  • Critically appraise the crisis preparedness and responsiveness of health systems and health policies to current and emerging challenges  
  • Discuss the major issues in international/global health policy and the development agenda (SDGs) including the role and agency of health policy actors at all levels  

During both courses you will develop generic skills such as:

  • Work independently 
  • Search information in reliable sources  
  • Show evidence of a critical and value-based attitude  
  • Communicate and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural setting  
  • Develop life-long learning skills 


€ 2020 EER / 6100 niet-EER

Programme director(s)

  • Ludwig Apers

Programme coördinator(s)

  • Deogratias Katsuva

Programme administrator(s)

  • Anne Thoelen
  • Gerlinde Segers
  • Cathy Liu