Planning & Management of Tropical Disease Control Programmes (TD)

Important notice: the structure of this short course is being reviewed. Soon new short courses will be published and opened for application. The description below, although it gives an indication, is no longer valid.
The Short Course in Planning and Management of Tropical Disease Control Programmes is a 10-week course for health professionals and researchers involved in tropical disease control programmes, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and neglected diseases in low- and middle-income countries.
The course wants to contribute to better disease prevention and control by supporting programme managers in their key functions: formulating a disease control policy and implementing and evaluating an intervention programme.
The course not only draws on the ITM’s comprehensive expertise in health systems management and in diseases such as malaria, schistosomiasis, sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, TB & HIV/AIDS, but also builds on the rich exchange of experience between students from many different regions.

Mode of study

This course (component) is organized :
- Face-to-face (Antwerpen)

Learning Objectives

After completion of the course, participants should be able to:
  • Assess the importance of tropical diseases and their main determinants at national and local levels
  • Critically appraise alternative intervention strategies in tropical disease control based on evidence and contextual elements
  • Prioritise and formulate specific intervention strategies related to tropical disease control within the framework of an existing health system and social context
  • Plan the implementation of those intervention strategies considering the existing health system’s organisation, the actors involved including the beneficiaries, the available resources, human rights and gender aspects
  • Monitor and evaluate tropical disease control programmes
  • Communicate and negotiate with actors in an effective way


The main focus of the course is on technical and managerial aspects of tropical disease control. Students receive an update of the scientific evidence on a number of selected tropical diseases and explore how a programme should translate this scientific evidence into context-adapted prevention and control strategies. The course also provides conceptual frameworks and tools for the management and evaluation of disease control programmes. The community dimension, inter-sectorial collaboration and international initiatives as well as gender and human rights are cross-cutting issues in all modules. Application of analysis to a participant’s own professional context is stressed.
The course includes 4 thematic modules:
Focuses on diagnostic strategies, scaling-up of ART and PMTCT, prevention targeting vulnerable groups, HIV/TB co-infection. Particular attention is given to the analysis of the HIV epidemic, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), health systems strengthening and human rights.
Focuses on scaling-up of impregnated bed nets and ACT (artemisin-based combination therapy), the use of rapid diagnostic tests, home-based management, intermittent preventive treatment, control versus elimination. Particular attention is given to the critical reading of scientific articles, to the analysis of strategic documents and to M&E.
Focuses on diagnostic strategies, treatment adherence, TB drug resistance, infection control. Particular attention is given to operational research and to M&E.
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
Focuses on diagnostics, treatment and vector control for leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis, and on integrated control of NTDs. Particular attention is given to advocacy, to the writing of a technical note, to negotiation and policy dialogue, and to programme, health system and community perspectives  in the control of NTDs.
The course also includes 2 methodological modules structured around personal assignments that are evaluated:
Project Formulation
The module follows the different stages of a Project Management Cycle:
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Problem analysis
  • Objective and strategy analysis
  • Construction of a Logical Framework for selected strategies
  • Operational plan
  • Monitoring and evaluation
Evaluation proposal of a Disease Control programme
The proposal includes:
  • Situation analysis
  • Development of an intervention logic explaining the underlying theory of change
  • Formulation of a relevant evaluation question
  • Definition of an appropiate desing and evaluation methods
  • Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses 

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching consists of interactive lectures, small group sessions followed by plenary presentations and discussions, coached individual work and presentations of posters/seminars related to the personal assignments. In addition, preparatory and further reading is required. Exchange of experience is essential in the learning process. There is a strong emphasis on case studies prepared by staff or fellow students. All teaching material, including theme-specific readers are distributed to the participants via an online platform.


Assessment is based on two individual assignments: a project formulation presented in a poster format and an evaluation proposal of a disease control programme presented in a seminar.
The mark for the project formulation assignment counts for 40% of the final mark (70% for content/methods and 30% for format).
The mark for the evaluation proposal assignment counts for 60% of the final mark (70% for content and 30% for communication).
In case of failure one re-sit is allowed.

Admission requirements

This course is intended for health professionals and researchers involved in tropical disease control programmes.
Admission criteria are:
- Holder of a university degree in health sciences or a professional bachelor in nursing sciences or midwifery can apply for the course.
- A minimum of 2 years of relevant experience in tropical disease control in low- and middle-income countries.
- Basic skills in epidemiology, statistics & research methodology
- Proficiency in the course language: 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 recognized institution. Required level of French: level 2 of “Alliance Française” procedures.
- All candidates for the French course must prove their scientific English reading proficiency.

Selection criteria

- Number of years and relevant professional experience
- Academic record (grades)
- Motivation and problem analysis
- References
- Relevant additional training (a degree of Master in Public Health or equivalent is an asset)


This course (component) is accredited by :


Course Leader: Marleen Boelaert
Coordinator (s): Marianne Pirard
Secretary: Marianne Hilgert
Tel: +32(0)32476471


The course study load is equivalent to 15 ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer and accumulation System credits).