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Public health approaches to infectious disease

This unit focuses on the strategies available in the twenty-first century to tackle major infectious diseases, including pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, HIV/AIDS, measles, tuberculosis and infections of the newborn. Infection poses a major threat to public health all over the world, but it disproportionately affects children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where pneumonia and diarrhoeal diseases are the two largest causes of death among those under five years old.

The aim of the unit is to give you clear insights and memorable examples of:

  • the importance of surveillance and mapping of infectious disease outbreaks in human populations and their impact on human lives
  • the biological, socioeconomic and other circumstances influencing the transmission of pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria, viruses and parasites
  • the success of some low-cost, community based public health campaigns to prevent, treat or control infections, illustrated by a video of a unique rural health programme in Ethiopia and a case study of how guinea worm disease has been brought to the brink of global eradication
  • the challenges that must be overcome in order to make further progress in reducing the burden of infectious disease and meeting the associated Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)agreed by the international community in 2000.

This unit is an adapted extract from The Open University course SK320 Infectious disease and public health.

About this resource
Type Website
Subject New and emerging infectious diseases   
Tags online learning   open learn   open university   
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