HUMN 3068 Public Health Response in Complex Emergencies

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102369

Coordinator Nidhi Wali Opens in new window

Description This subject examines several different aspects of public health in emergencies including rapid assessment of the health status of the population, public health surveillance measures, and the priorities in an emergency phase. To effectively respond to complex emergencies, government and non-government organisations must enact policy and activity to prevent, protect against, and respond to injuries and threats posed by infectious disease outbreaks and hunger. The subject provides an outline of the principles of disaster prevention, preparedness and mitigation, and introduces students to aspects of human resources in the coordination of different operational initiatives.

School Social Sciences

Discipline Studies in Human Society, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Co-requisite(s) HUMN 2017

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Define different types of natural and human-induced disasters and outline public health responses required for different phases of emergencies.
  2. Outline conceptual and methodological approaches related to public health in complex emergencies to inform health priorities, and articulate frameworks and standards that inform and govern the prioritisation process in complex emergencies.
  3. Describe an understanding of complex emergency management systems and plans including the humanitarian charter, minimum standards, and the anatomy of disaster response.
  4. Describe key players in emergency response and management, their roles and challenges they face.
  5. Identify and critically analyse major international guidelines and standards that govern humanitarian responses, and recognise enabling and disenabling factors associated with the adherence to such standards.
  6. Analyse the national and international contextual, policy, and legal frameworks that govern a complex emergency response.
  7. Critically analyse challenges and ethical dilemmas associated with various emergency scenarios.

Subject Content

1. Epidemiology of disasters
2. Principles of disaster prevention and mitigation
3. Generating the evidence to inform interventions
4. Top health priorities in complex emergencies
5. Mass vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases
6. Water and sanitation
7. Food and nutrition
8. Shelter and site planning, and non-food items
9. Reproductive health
10. Accountability, effectiveness, and ethical dimensions of humanitarian response
11. Bringing it together: Critical appraisal of the evidence


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Reflection 150 words per week (1-8) 20 N Individual
Essay 1,500 words 40 N Individual
Quiz 2 hours 40 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Renzaho, A.M.N. (Ed.). (2016). Globalisation, migration and health: Challenges and opportunities. London: Imperial College Press.

Teaching Periods

Autumn (2024)

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Nidhi Wali Opens in new window

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