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  • Addis Ababa University
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Occupational Health in Developing Countries

Get a global perspective on occupational health and safety and learn how it reduces workplace injury on this CPD-certified course.

21,563 enrolled on this course

Occupational Health in Developing Countries
  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours
  • Accreditation

    AvailableMore info

Learn how to work on the issue of occupational health in a low-income setting

Occupational health is a neglected part of public health in many developing countries where industrial activity is increasing.

On this course, you’ll broaden your knowledge of occupational health and learn how to prevent diseases and injuries caused by working conditions in developing countries.

You’ll explore the tasks and structure of occupational health services, workplace risk factors, major occupational diseases and the steps of a risk assessment.

You’ll learn about the role of different actors in occupational health, including employers, employees, health services, and the Labor Inspection.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Industrial activities are increasing in most developing countries, but knowledge about possible adverse health effects is often scarce. This course is relevant for anyone who would like to learn about work and health in developing countries. My name is Bente Moen, and I am a professor at the University of Bergen, Norway. Together with our educational team, I will lead you through 6 weeks of activities, regarding work and health. We’ll show you examples from different work environments, we’ll visit industries, hospitals as well as offices. And we will take you through written material, texts, quizzes, videos and discussions. At the end of the course, you’ll have learnt that the work environment may cause adverse health effects.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 seconds You will also know how to evaluate the risk for injuries and diseases in the work environment and to suggest preventive measures. All in the setting of developing countries. The course will give an introduction to this scientific area, and will be useful for all health personnel - whether you work with treatment of patients or within public health. However, we focus on preventing adverse health effects. The course is also relevant for health personnel working on health and safety in companies, in labor inspection and in relevant governmental departments. I hope you will join us, and that you will find the course both interesting and challenging.


  • Week 1


    • Welcome to this course

      Industrial activities are increasing in most developing countries, but knowledge about possible adverse health effects is often scarce. To be able to improve the working situation world-wide, you need to learn more about this.

    • Introduction to occupational health

      This lecture will bring you into the world of occupational health, by examples and facts about the size of the problem. You will also learn about legislation and different actors working on the topic occupational Health.

    • Risk assessment

      In this lecture you will learn about risk assessment; the different steps necessary to evaluate a work place and what preventive measures which are needed.

    • Occupational injuries

      This lecture deals with the occurrence of occupational injuries and gives examples of risk factors for injuries at work, as well as examples of preventive measures.

    • Occupational diseases

      160 million cases of work-related diseases occur globally each year, and EVERY day, about 5500 workers die as the result of a preventable disease, which has been induced or aggravated by a particular exposure in the workplace.

  • Week 2


    • Introduction to chemical and biological factors and health at work

      This week you will learn about different chemical and biological factors and health at work. Some chemicals may cause serious acute intoxications. Both chemical and biological factors may cause chronic diseases.

    • Chemical intoxications

      Many chemicals are very toxic, and the number of new chemicals is increasing. To reduce the risk of intoxications, we need to have knowledge about the substances, how they work and how to prevent adverse side effects.

    • Pesticide intoxications

      As the population in the world is increasing, food production is very important. We need to control pests in agriculture, and pesticides are widely used. However, we must avoid that workers are intoxicated by these substances.

    • Intoxications from organic solvents

      Organic solvents, used for instance in paint, glue and detergents, may cause very serious long-term health effects in the nervous system. These substances may cause peripheral polynevropathy and/or encephalopathy.

    • Biological factors

      Different biological agents are encountered in a wide range of work places, where they may cause work-related infectious diseases, acute toxic effects, allergies and even cancer.

  • Week 3


    • Introduction to physical factors and health at work

      High noise levels, occur in many workplaces, and may cause reduced hearing among the workers. Other physical factors that might cause adverse health effects at work are vibration, radiation and climate. Safety at work is important

    • Noise and vibration

      Noise may cause hearing loss, and high noise levels must be avoided. This lecture will teach you how to measure noise, evaluate hearing and how to prevent adverse side effects of noise. Health and vibration will also be described.

    • Radiation

      The two main types of radiation, ionizing and non-ionizing electromagnetic fields, will be defined and described. Examples of their possible health effects will be given, and preventive measures described.

    • Workplace climate

      Workplace climate is important for us. We need regulations of the temperature, for instance, and here you will learn about both hot and cold climate conditions at work. Indoor air environments will be described as well.

    • Safety at Work

      Safety at work is very important; the number of occupational injuries is very high. We need to do an effort to prevent occupational injuries. Work on the safety culture at work and educate both leaders and workers on the issue.

  • Week 4


    • Introduction to work-related diseases

      This week you will learn about some typical work-related diseases; lung diseases, cancer, skin diseases and musculoskeletal diseases. Most important: All these diseases can be prevented!

    • Lung diseases

      Lung diseases affect millions worldwide. Tobacco smoking is the most common preventable cause, but 10-15 % of diagnosed lung diseases can be related to different exposures at the work place.

    • Cancer

      A work-related cancer is a cancer induced by a particular exposure in the workplace. Work-related cancers are increasing in numbers because increasing numbers of industries all over the world are using carcinogenic agents.

    • Skin diseases

      Skin diseases induced or aggravated by a particular workplace exposure are very common in both developed and developing countries. For certain groups of workers having hand eczema might result in them having to stop their jobs.

    • Musculoskeletal diseases

      Musculoskeletal diseases are very common, and cause suffering and pain among a large number of workers. Here, we will show you examples of work with a high risk of developing musculoskeletal diseases.

  • Week 5


    • Introduction to psychosocial factors and health at work

      Psychosocial factors are very important for the health and well-being at work. This is the situation for all workers. We all need to be treated with respect and dignity at work. Let us strive for this at all workplaces.

    • Psychosocial work factors

      In this lecture the expression psychosocial work factors is described and defined. Some persons, helping others at work, may develop a "burnout" syndrome. This can be prevented, and we will tell you about it.

    • Work conflicts

      Minor conflicts often take place at workplaces; this is normal. We need to solve the conflicts quickly. Conflicts that are not solved might become a major problem, and this situations must be avoided and prevented.

    • Harassment at work

      Harassment among adults at work happens at all types of work places. Both managers and employees should work to prevent such situations. Harassment may lead to serious health problems and expulsion from the working life.

    • Shift work and health

      Many workers have duties outside "normal" work hours. We need to know the health hazards from this type of work. Night shift work is associated with several health problems, and shift schedules must be organized well.

  • Week 6


    • Care of the worker

      This week we will teach you how to take care of the worker in general, for instance by establishing occupational health services. We will also discuss how to best take care of pregnant women and handicapped persons.

    • Occupational health services

      In this session we will describe different organizational models, as well as tasks and professions within OHS. We will also challenge you to design a perfect OHS.

    • The pregnant worker

      Many workplaces have conditions that may be unsafe for a pregnant worker and her unborn child. Our knowledge is limited, and hence the principle of “better safe than sorry”, should be used in the management of pregnant workers.

    • Work place rehabilitation

      If someone is injured at work, we should aim at helping them to return to work, by a rehabilitation process. This should also be the case if someone is handicapped from birth, or develop injuries or diseases later in life,

    • Addressing occupational health issues

      This lecture is filled with examples, asking you how to handle them. We hope you have learned a lot during this course, and that you will be able to address our questions for you on different occupational health issues.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Assess the most important risk factors for illness and injuries at work places
  • Evaluate the risk for illness and injuries at work places
  • Discuss needed preventive measures at a work place, based on a risk assessment
  • Reflect on occupational health in a global perspective, and know how to work on the issue in a low income setting

Who is the course for?

This occupational health course is designed for anyone who wants to understand how to prevent the development of diseases and injuries caused by poor working conditions in developing countries.

This course is open to anyone, though study in medicine, dentistry, health sciences or natural sciences, and a good knowledge of English will be helpful to understand more complex aspects of the course.

Who will you learn with?

Professor in Occupational Medicine and International Health. Main interest: Occupational Health in developing countries; mostly chemical hazards, dust and respiratory health as well as shift work

Associate professor at University of Bergen, and physician/specialist in occupational medicine at the University Hospital. Interests: Health effects due to adverse work conditions, and prevention.

Professor, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Bergen. My main work is on exposure assessment of chemical and physical hazards, including several industries in developing countries.

Associate professor and group leader at the Research Group for Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Bergen. Physician in occupational medicine at the University hospital.

Who developed the course?

University of Bergen

The University of Bergen (UiB) offers first-class education and cutting-edge research at our location in the city centre of Bergen, Norway.

Addis Ababa University

Addis Ababa University (AAU), which was established in 1950 as the University College of Addis Ababa (UCAA), is the oldest and the largest higher learning and research institution in Ethiopia.

Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences

MUHAS in Tanzania has a range of programmes in biomedical, clinical and allied health sciences. These programmes are taught in the five Schools and one academic Institute of the University.

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