Humanitarian Health Action

Public Health Pre-Deployment Course (PHPD)

Contents and methods

The Course will be organized in 3 modules as follows:

Module 1: Health in the broader humanitarian context

This module introduces/updates participants on the international humanitarian system, guiding principles and laws, and trends in humanitarian assistance; and the humanitarian and UN reforms, key pillars and mechanisms for joint action. It also describes the major players in the public health sector arena, their response in emergencies, the roles and functions of WHO in emergencies and address key myths and realities in the field.

Module 2: Impact of public health due to various hazards

This module highlights key public health areas and cross-cutting humanitarian issues applied in different scenarios. It provides emergency health managers with tools and strategies that enable them to identify and prioritize life-saving public health interventions with up to date evidence at different phases of a given disaster, emergency or crisis situation.

Module 3: Operational and personal effectiveness

This module introduces the participants to the security and safety aspects during field mission; the measures to take to ensure readiness and good health during the entire field mission, including stress management. It also provides tips on how to communicate public health risks and to deal with the media in emergencies, as well as provides orientation on telecommunication, computing and personal equipment that would be provided to deployed members.


The Course is geared towards adult learning and uses participatory methods as much as possible; didactic lectures and presentations are accompanied by discussions, debates, group work, video discussions, practical sessions, small and large group exercises, role-plays and simulation exercises.

By the end of the Course, participants will take part in a two-day field simulation exercise. This provides participants with an opportunity to apply learned knowledge and skills in a series of emergency-like scenarios.

In preparation for the Course, selected candidates will be invited to enroll in the PHPD virtual learning environment and participate in a limited number of on-line activities.

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