Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsJIMMY WHITWORTH: Hello, and welcome to our course-- Disease Outbreaks in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. My name is Jimmy Whitworth, and I'm your lead educator. I am also a Professor of International Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Deputy Director of the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team. The rapid support team is set up to respond to outbreaks, conduct operational research, and strengthen capacity for infectious disease outbreak preparedness, detection, and response in low- and middle-income countries.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 secondsLarge-scale disease outbreaks, such as the diphtheria outbreak in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh in 2017, and recurrent outbreaks such as cholera and Lassa fever, highlight the need for robust, local and international outbreak preparedness and rapid responses to save lives. When an outbreak is undetected and a response is not triggered rapidly and effectively, the human cost can be high, as in West Africa with Ebola. Many outbreaks are unexpected, like the Zika outbreak in Latin America, which caused serious birth defects on a large scale, with over 3,000 confirmed cases between 2015 and 2018.

Skip to 1 minute and 41 secondsIn addition to the direct impact of an outbreak, the further human, social, and economic consequences can devastate fragile health systems and affected communities, undoing decades of social development. Over this three-week course, we will come together to examine information and resources gathered from experts on outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries across a wide range of disciplines including; epidemiology; microbiology; clinical medicine; social science; health policy; and health systems. The course uses videos, presentations, articles, discussions, and simple assessments. We seek to answer questions such as; what are outbreaks and why do they matter? How do we prepare and respond to outbreaks? And what will outbreak preparedness and response look like in the future?

Skip to 2 minutes and 45 secondsWe anticipate that you will be a very diverse group of learners with a wealth of knowledge and experience. We very much look forward to learning with you and encourage you to participate in course discussions, sharing your thoughts, perceptions, and personal experiences with us and with each other.

Welcome to the course

Welcome to our course, Disease Outbreaks in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Your Lead Educator is Professor Jimmy Whitworth, and your Educators are Adrienne Testa, Maryirene Ibeto and Hilary Bower of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Let’s begin.

Why are we here?

Large-scale disease outbreaks, such as the diphtheria outbreak in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh in 2017 and recurrent outbreaks such as cholera and Lassa fever, highlight the need for robust local and international outbreak preparedness and rapid responses to save lives. When an outbreak is undetected and a response is not triggered rapidly and effectively, the human cost can be high as in West Africa with Ebola.

Many outbreaks are unexpected, like the Zika outbreak in Latin America, which caused serious birth defects on a large scale, with over 3000 confirmed cases between 2015 and 2018. In addition to the direct impact of an outbreak, the further human, social and economic consequences can devastate fragile health systems and affected communities, undoing decades of social development.

What will we learn?

Over this three week course, we will come together to examine information and resources gathered from experts on outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries across a range of disciplines, including epidemiology, microbiology, clinical medicine, social science, health policy, and health systems.

The course uses videos, presentations, articles, discussions, and simple assessments. We seek to answer questions such as:

  • What are outbreaks and why do they matter?

  • How do we prepare for and respond to outbreaks?

  • And what will outbreak preparedness and response look like in the future?

Learning with us

Remember that each step features a Comments area that you can use to share your thoughts and reflections. When you feel happy with the material and ideas covered in a step, please Mark as complete before using the Next arrow to move on. You can check your progress using the Progress tab at the top of each page.

We hope that you will find the course material thought provoking and engaging, and anticipate you will be a very diverse group of learners with a wealth of knowledge and experience. We encourage you to participate in course discussions, sharing your thoughts, perceptions, and personal experiences with us and with each other. We very much look forward to learning with you and hope you enjoy our course.

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Disease Outbreaks in Low and Middle Income Countries

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine