Title: Planning and Management of Tropical Diseases Control Programmes
Keywords: TB
Planning and programming (incl.. budgeting and evaluation)
Neglected diseases
Country: Belgium
Institution: Belgium - Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine
Course coordinator: Marleen Boelaert
Marjan Pirard
Date start: 2019-03-04
Date end: 2019-05-10
About duration and dates: 10 weeks
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Face to face
Course location: Institute for Tropical Medicine, Antwerpen, Belgium
ECTS credit points: 12 ECTS credits
258 contact hours + 192 self-study hours = 450 SIT
Language: French
At the end of the module, the students should be able to:
1. Assess the importance of tropical diseases (TD) (such as HIV, malaria, TB and neglected tropical diseases) and their main determinants at national or more local levels;
2. Critically appraise, prioritise and formulate strategies in tropical disease control (TDC) based on evidence and contextual elements;
3. Plan implementation of those intervention strategies considering the existing health system organisation; the actors involved including the community; the available resources; human rights and gender aspects;
4. Monitor and evaluate tropical disease control programmes
5. Communicate an negotiate with actors in an effective way using different means (e.g. poster, seminar, policy note, debate)
Assessment Procedures:
Assessment is based on two individual assignments. Students need to obtain a pass mark (10/20) for the overall module mark (assignment one a has weight of 40% and assignment two of 60%).

1) Project Formulation with Project Cycle Management (PCM) / Logical Framework (LF):

The first individual assignment consists of 6steps:
1. to conduct a stakeholder analysis,
2. to analyse a TDC problem by constructing a problem tree,
3. to convert a problem tree into an objective tree,
4. to identify possible strategies to solve the problems,
5. to prioritise strategies according to given criteria,
6. to construct a logical framework for selected strategies,

Before each step the methodology is explained in an introductory lecture. Examples are presented and discussed in plenary sessions. The assignment is to be made individually but exchanging ideas in small groups is encouraged. Methodological and technical coaches guide the participants. The project is presented in a poster format.

The quality of the poster presentations is formally assessed by one of the methodological coaches and one member of staff with expertise in the domain related to the chosen problem. The assessment criteria are related to the learning objectives and communicated on beforehand.
The mark for the project formulation assignment counts for 40% of the overall mark for the module. (70% for content/methods and 30% for communication)

2) Evaluation proposal of a Tropical Disease Control intervention / project / programme:

The second individual assignment consists of 5 steps:
1. to conduct a situation analysis for a specific TDC intervention/project/programme
2. to develop a logic model explaining the underlying theory of change
3. to formulate a relevant evaluation question for an outcome or impact evaluation
4. to define an appropriate design and evaluation methods
5. to discuss the strengths and weaknesses

The individual assignment is coached by staff members in groups of 4-5 peers (who are also expected to learn from each other). It ends in an individual presentation during a seminar for staff and peers
The quality of the seminar presentation and discussion is formally assessed by two members of staff of which at least one has expertise in the domain related to the chosen intervention/project/programme. The assessment criteria are related to the learning objectives and communicated beforehand.
The mark for the evaluation proposal assignment counts for 60% of the overall assessment mark for the module. (70% for content and 30% for communication)

Re-sit sessions
Participants who did not obtain the pass mark of 50% (10/20) for the overall assessment mark for the module in the first assessment session, get the possibility to present a revised version of the assignment(s) in a second (re-sit) session.
The module includes 4 thematic sub-modules:

1. HIV/AIDS (week 2-4)
Focuses on diagnostic strategies, scaling-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT), and prevention targeting vulnerable groups. Particular attention is given to the analysis of the HIV epidemic, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), health systems strengthening and human rights(in a debate format).

2. Malaria (week 5-6)
Focuses on scaling up of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs), use of rapid diagnostic tests, scaling up artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACTs) and prevention of drug resistance, integrated community case management, intermittent preventive treatment (IPT), elimination versus control, outbreak preparedness and control. Special attention for critical reading of scientific papers, strategy paper analysis, M&E.

3. Tuberculosis (week 6-7)
Focuses on basic and new diagnostic tools, treatment adherence, drug resistance, quality assurance of drugs, nosocomial infections, TB/HIV co-infection. Special attention for operational research and M&E.

4. Neglected tropical diseases (NTD) (week 8-9)
Focuses on diagnostics, treatment and vector control for leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis, and on integrated control of NTDs. Particular attention is given to advocacy and the writing of a technical note, to negotiation and policy dialogue, and to health system and community perspectives in the control of NTDs.

The community dimension, inter-sectorial collaboration and international initiatives as well as gender and human rights are cross cutting issues in all thematic sub-modules. Application of analysis to participant’s own working context is stressed.

And two methodological sub-modules, structured around individual assignments (see details under 13. assessment procedures):

5. Project Formulation with Project Cycle Management & Logical Framework (PCM/LF) ( week 1-2)

6. Evaluation proposal of a Tropical Disease Control intervention/project/programme ( week 3-10)
Teaching consists of interactive lectures (99h), small group sessions followed by plenary presentations and discussions (98h), coached individual work and e-learning (39h) and presentations of posters/seminars for the assignments (22h). In addition it is estimated that 192 hrs of personal work are required for preparatory and additional reading and for the individual assignments. Exchange of experience is essential in the learning process. There is a strong emphasis on case studies prepared by staff and/or fellow students and debates.
This advanced module is intended for health professionals and researchers involved in/, or responsible for tropical disease control programmes.
Holders of a university degree in health sciences or a professional bachelor in nursing sciences or midwifery can apply for the course.
Candidates should have minimum 2 years of relevant experience in reproductive health programmes in low and middle income countries as the module builds on the exchange of this experience. The course language is either English or French. Candidates who are not native speakers of the course language or whose language of instruction during higher education is not the same as the course language, must provide proof of language proficiency by a certificate from a recognised institution.
Required level for English: TOEFL paper based 580, computer based 230, internet-based 88 or IETLS 6.5 Required level of French: level 2 of “Alliance Française” procedures (niveau 2 du DELF de l’Alliance Française).
Maximum 24 participants, including 10 to 15 participants on average of the ITM Master of Public Health, and maximum 10 tropEd students.
A selection committee will evaluate all applications on a comparative basis. The selection criteria are: the number of years and relevance of the experience, the academic records (grades), the quality of the motivation letter, the references and the relevance of additional training. A Master of Public Health degree or equivalent is an asset for those who follow this course outside a Master curriculum.
Applications should reach the course administration before October 15th (forms on www.itg.be)
For all information contact the course administrator: SC-TD@itg.be
ITM can offer a number of fellowships to applicants from developing countries. Academic acceptance in the course is conditional to, but no guarantee for such scholarships. Candidates can obtain updated information about the application procedures from the course administrator:
Major changes since initial accreditation:
Each year updates are made in function of new scientific insights or guidelines. For example in the HIV/AIDS sub-module the implications of the new treatment guidelines, the 90-90-90 UNAIDS targets, option B+ in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, TasP (Treatment as Prevention) are discussed. Similar updates are made in the other sub-modules.

In 2014 the former methodological sub-module and corresponding assessment “strategy analysis” has been reoriented to the formulation of an “evaluation proposal”. The scope of the strategy analysis assignment turned out to be too broad and students had major difficulties to obtain the necessary data (being in Antwerp). The new focus on evaluation is in line with the increased attention for this aspect of programme management.

Since 2014 we also strengthened the learning opportunities to enhance the student’s communication and negotiation skills. The module programme now includes 4 debates with active participation of the students of 4 courses (advanced modules) that take place simultaneously at ITM (Planning and Management of Reproductive Health Programmes, Strategic Management of Health Systems, Health Policy). Each group has to prepare and moderate one debate. Examples of topics debated are: “ Trialogue between villagers, policy makers and experts on a vector control policy for leishmaniasis» and « The traditional healers, actors of the care system that must disappear?»
Student evaluation:
The module is evaluated through oral and written course evaluations for each of the sub-modules. In addition an evaluation meeting is organised at the end of the module to discuss global aspects. The remarks are analysed with the teaching staff and adjustments of the content, methods and teaching staff are made accordingly.

Students appreciate the new insights gained, the evidence-based updates and the practical applicability of the methods and tools introduced. The expertise and field knowledge of ITM staff and invited lectures is highly valued. The group discussions, case studies (in particular comparative case studies in the HIV and malaria sub-module) and the real-life assignments allow to apply the theoretical frameworks and to practice communication and negotiation skills during the course. Thought provoking sessions on sensitive issues and debates sharpened critical thinking.
Sessions on technical issues can be challenging for non-doctors. The course workload is heavy but doable. Some assignments could benefit from more time to digest or go more in depth. Suggestions in student evaluations have led for example to an extension of the Project Cycle Management / Logical Framework (PCM-LF) methodological sub-module with 1 day. Similarly we allotted more time for the modular students to get to know the master students, the staff and the institute at the start of the module.
Lessons learned:
In alumni meetings and a mayor alumni survey conducted in 2014 former students state repeatedly mention how the programme planning, management and evaluation competencies acquired in the course strengthened their professional performance.

A reflection process on flexibility in the MPH is ongoing. One of the possible scenarios is to re-organise the content of some advanced course components in shorter modules to allow more choice. We consider to split this module in one or two methodological modules and one or two thematic modules.
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited in Valencia 2001; re-accredited in September 2006 and validation was prolonged until September 2012. Re-accredited in December 2012 and December 2017. This accreditation is valid until December 2022.
English in 2018; French in 2019 (The course language alternates yearly between English and French).
Although the student investment time equals 15 ECTS, according to tropEd regulations, 12 ECTS is the maximum allowed or taken into account for advanced modules.
1. In this module, participants will receive an up-to-date overview of the available evidence on specific tropical diseases (TD), their social determinants and priority interventions. The aim is not to be exhaustive but to concentrate on current public health issues/debates. Concepts, models and tools necessary for the formulation, implementation and evaluation of tropical disease control (TDC) strategies are taught in an applied way.
The module focuses on both the technical (evidence-based) and management aspects of tropical disease control programmes. A particular emphasis is made on a health system’s perspective and on integrated strategies, especially through case studies.

2. The HIV/AIDS sub-module and the methodological sub-modules are organised in common with the advanced module “Planning and Management of Reproductive Health Programmes”. This means the students cannot integrate both modules in the same Master programme.
Email Address: gvheusden@itg.be
Date Of Record Creation: 2012-01-12 21:40:27 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2012-01-13 03:58:51 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2017-12-17 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2018-09-25 11:57:55 (W3C-DTF)

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