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MPH2048 - Primary health care in developing countries

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Dr C Morgan


Alfred Hospital First semester 2007 (Day)
Alfred Hospital Second semester 2007 (On-campus)


Principles of health policy development, program management and their application to the public health needs of communities in developing countries. Economic, cultural and political concerns. History, principles and practice of primary health care in developing countries. Key elements, developmental context and practical applications of project design, implementation and evaluation.


On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a familiarity with the principles and elements of primary health care in developing countries;
  2. Outline why other models of health care have failed to deliver effective, affordable health care to entire communities, and how a Primary Health Care (PHC) approach to health care differs from these other models;
  3. Explain how primary health care has evolved in the last 25 years and what issues have shaped its development;
  4. Describe the respective shortcomings of comprehensive and selective primary health care as health service delivery mechanisms;
  5. Outline key cross-cutting issues in PHC and their significance in community health (gender; aging; integration, community participation; intersectoral collaboration;
  6. Explain the importance of community health workers and peripheral service delivery in primary health care in developing countries;
  7. Explain the role of global agencies, aid programs and other international health interventions in primary health care services;
  8. Describe the process of good program planning, monitoring and evaluation;
  9. Describe the underlying causes of poor community health in developing countries and the impact these have on health status;
  10. Outline the role of community knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices in primary health care;
  11. Describe the history of health care financing and the challenges facing health planners in developing countries;
  12. Describe the strategies taken to maximise the likelihood of PHC succeeding as a health care system at village, district and country levels;
  13. Explain the impact of health sector reforms and decentralisation on PHC and other international health interventions;
  14. Explain the impact of an essential drugs policy on a health system and the wellbeing of the communities it serves.


Written task 70%
Open book short answer examination 30%

Contact hours

2 x 7 weekday contact hours and


Basic computer proficiency


MPH1040 & MPH1041 or MPH1030 & MPH1031