Double Burden of Disease


Course Objective

• To be able to explain the double and triple burden of diseases
• To understand causes and implications of the double and triple burden
of diseases in different contexts
• To gain insight into health interventions to address the double and
triple burden of disease
• To acquire skills on finding, reading and integrating relevant
literature for a scientific essay
• To learn how to translate and communicate scientific results to the
public, via online media

Course Content

The course ‘Double Burden of Disease’ is a course within the ‘Global
Health’ Track of the minor ‘Biomedical and Health Interventions’ of the
Bachelor’s programs Health Sciences, Biomedical Sciences and Health &
Life (and other health-oriented Bachelors programs).
Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) currently face a “double burden
of disease”. This term was defined by the WHO as “first, the emerging
epidemics of non-communicable diseases and injuries, which are becoming
more prevalent in industrialized and developing countries alike, and
second, some major infectious diseases which survived the 20th century –
part of the unfinished health agenda” (WHO, 1999a). In essence, the
health shift from communicable diseases (CDs) (e.g. hepatitis A, polio,
measles, tetanus) to non-communicable/chronic diseases (NCDs) (e.g.
cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes) which health system
experts had seen in high income countries (HICs) after the second world
war was not happening in LMICs. Instead people in LMICs now face the
double burden of high rates of both NCDS and CDs. This is also described
as double-disease burden, dual burden, joint burden, and combined

In addition, recent conversations within the health and scientific field
have highlighted the “triple burden” of communicable diseases,
non-communicable diseases and additional factors such as mental health,
injuries, socio-behavioral conditions. This introduces additional
complexity to the existing problems of the double burden of disease.
Although this course focuses on the double burden of disease we will
also discuss these emerging triple burdens.

The beginning of the course presents an overview on communicable and
non-communicable diseases as part of the conversation on the double and
triple burden of disease. We will study key concepts and terminology as
well as measurements related to the double burden of diseases. The
following lectures will address specific diseases as several examples of
the double burden of disease and how it affects people, professionals
and health care systems. For example, HIV as an infectious and chronic
condition. Finally, we will have a reflection lecture which addresses
health system responses, interventions and programs to address the
double burden of diseases.

Teaching Methods

Lectures 18 hours
Work groups 9 hours (Mandatory)
Self study 130 hours
Examination 3 hours

Method of Assessment

Written Exam 50%
Individual essay 20%
Blog 20%
Blog Presentation 10%

All parts need to be passed (grade 5.5 or higher)


Information on selected reading materials will be made available
on Canvas

Target Audience

Students following the minor Global health or other students with a
background in health- or biomedical science or another relevant bachelor
programme in the beta sciences.

Additional Information

Guest lecturers will be invited to discuss fieldwork and research.
We recommend student to have been enrolled in the minor courses future
challenges in global health and drivers for change in global health.

Recommended background knowledge

We recommend student to have been enrolled in the minor courses future
challenges in global health and drivers for change in global health.

General Information

Course Code AB_1109
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. M.M. Waltz
Examiner dr. N. Blignaut-van Westrhenen
Teaching Staff U.O.C. Ilozumba

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture, Study Group