Lugano, Switzerland

Health in Emergencies: Assessing and Responding to Health Care Needs in Complex Situations

blended course
when 19 August 2024 - 21 August 2024
language English
duration 1 week
credits 1 EC
fee CHF 850

Public health emergencies are a global problem, and the effects and needs vary with the vulnerability of the affected communities and with the fragility of the context where they develop. Since complex emergencies presenta number of distinct challenges for public health interventions and emergency service development and deployment - such as violence, insecurity, mass population displacement, deteriorated living conditions - people working in complex situations need the practical skills and operational expertise to respond to the different health needs required (e.g., water and sanitation, nutrition and protection) in fragile and crises-affected contexts.

In this context, one of the primary tasks of all emergency services is to ‘serve the communities’ affected. The multi-disciplinary and complex nature of coordination in any emergency means having to balance immediate, mid-, and long-term threats, and deal with sometimes competing interests of donors, government, and community member’s needs. Victims of crisis situations need responders to address the immediate risks presented, but they also have additional priorities and needs that often extend beyond those defined in legislation or reflected in emergency response practice.

Criteria for the design of emergency services provide little room to adjust to the unique needs and wants of people affected. So how do you bridge the gaps between such regulations, science, social and political pressure, and community interests to create responses that meet the needs of community members quickly and long term?

In this course you will learn how to conduct rapid needs assessments to support goal setting and prioritize actions, develop key indicators of the health status of a population and utilise human-centered design and behavioral science in a multi-stakeholder environment, to plan, coordinate and design services that really matter to and work well for communities. You will gain unique insights into lessons learned from some of the biggest crises of this century and you will use real life case studies to apply and critically evaluate key concepts in emergency preparedness and response, human centered design, behavioral science and risk communication.The course content is a combination of basic principles mixed in with on-the-ground experiences. The facilitators illustrate different public health challenges with many practical ‘real-life’ examples.

Course leader

Dr. Rowena Merritt

Course aim

By the end of the course participants will:
- Demonstrate knowledge on health emergencies in different complex settings and the most effective approaches to deal with them;
- Understand how to conduct rapid needs assessments and develop key indicators of the health status of a population;
- Be able to apply the knowledge gained to a variety of complex settings, adjusting to time and resources available and to the local community’s needs;
- Have the capacity to develop appropriate public health management strategies for emergency response, include planning, coordination and designing of services and risk communications;
- Learn how to utilize human-centered design and behavioral science in a multi-stakeholder environment.

Credits info

1 EC
To get the Certificate of completion and the 1 ECTS participants MUST:
- Attend at least 80%of the course;
- Attend the plenary(s) offered during the days of the course;
- Actively participate in group works and team assignments.

Fee info

CHF 850: Online participation. 850 CHF as early bird price (until May 1st), 1000 CHF as normal price (after May first).
CHF 1000: Onsite participation. 1000 CHF as early bird price (until May 1st), 1200 CHF as normal price (after May first).


Discounts are available for PhD and Master students and participants from LMICs. Some scholarships are available especially for participants from LMICs.