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Non Communicable Disease & Global Health (POPH90247)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codePOPH90247
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Globally, non communicable diseases account for over two thirds of all deaths, and over half of disability adjusted life years. While non communicable diseases have sometimes been assumed to impact only on wealthy countries, they are in fact a major health and development challenge. Around 80 percent of non communicable disease-related deaths occur in low and middle incomes countries. Nations with the highest non communicable disease burden include some of Australia’s closest neighbours, particularly island states in the Pacific, where over 70 percent of mortality is now due to non communicable diseases. The growing non communicable disease burden is of critical importance to global health and development because it impacts on economic growth, increases levels of poverty, and leads to premature death. Non communicable diseases also have major social and fiscal implications for governments and communities.

In this subject, students will gain a practical understanding of the epidemiology, determinants, consequences and global health responses to the non communicable disease epidemic. The subject promotes students’ exploration of the nexus between non communicable diseases and disability, non communicable diseases and infectious diseases, and non communicable diseases within the broader public health and global development agenda. The subject will contribute to enabling a new generation of public health professionals to address non communicable diseases through appropriate policy, programmatic and advocacy responses in Australia and globally.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Appraise the major social, political, environmental, cultural and economic factors driving non communicable diseases in Australia and globally;
  • Describe the historical evolution of the non communicable disease epidemic;
  • Compare the current and forecasted burden of non communicable diseases globally and in different regions and countries;
  • Apply global, national and local strategies to address non communicable diseases;
  • Describe the relationship between non communicable diseases and equity, particularly with regards to gender, indigeneity and socio-economic status;
  • Distinguish between major global and regional non communicable disease stakeholders including governments, NGOs and intergovernmental bodies.

Generic skills


Upon completion of this subject students will be able to:

  • Describe and appraise public health systems, structures and policies in Australia and other countries, as they apply to NCDs, and be able to distinguish a population-based approach from individual based approaches;
  • Articulate the ways in which age, gender, ethnicity and Indigenous status, society, culture, geography, the environment and socio-economic status influence NCDs and public health practice.


Upon completion of this subject students will be able to:

  • Describe how the concept of equity applies to public health practice;
  • Identify and access public health evidence, and appraise and synthesise this evidence to inform public health decision making with regard to NCDs;
  • Explain and/or plan strategies to prevent disease (and injury) and to protect and improve health (i.e. health promotion, screening, legislation and policy).

Application of knowledge and skills

Upon completion of this subject students will be able to:

  • Apply a comprehensive knowledge of a public health, with reference to NCDs, to develop solutions to complex public health problems;
  • Design and manage a detailed investigation of a NCD-related issue, with a high level personal autonomy.

Last updated: 21 September 2019