Costa Rican Healthcare and Tropical Medicine

Universidad Veritas

Course Description

Course name: Costa Rican Health Care and Tropical Medicine
Course code: HIS-3293
Total contact hours: 60 hours
Pre-requisite: Must be a Health Sciences student

Costa Rica´s health care system is unique due to the fact that it´s socialized and has achieved excellent health indicators. The course focuses on the history and development of the public health care system within the context of the Costa Rican sociopolitical and economical situation. It also gives a strong emphasis on how the system actually works and points out not only the strongholds of the systems, but also it´s weak points. A third objective, of fundamental importance in order to understand this system, is the study of Costa Rica as a tropical country. Students will learn about the prevention and transmission of relevant tropical diseases.

1. To study the fundamental aspects of the health in a Latin American country
2. To analyze the structure of the Health System of Costa Rica
3. To recognize the main characteristics of the tropical pathology
4. To develop abilities to understand the binomial health and society within the Latin American culture

Work Schedule:
Part I
Special Work
Section 1
- Course introduction
- Costa Rica epidemiology, demography and anthropology.
- Costa Rica?s Health Indicators
Speech topics assignment
Section 2
- Costa Rica?s Health System History
- Habitants from the original nation
Costa Rica?s Private Medicine System
Section 3
- Debate: Costa Rica and USA Health Systems
- Movie: ?Sicko? by Michael Moore
Movie analysis
Visit to the CIMA hospital
Part II
Activity Special Work
Section 4 - Physical Examination and
Patient?s interview
- Test #1 (including health
- Parasite Generalities
Review on physical
Part III
Activity Special Work
Section 5 - Protozoaries and diseases
- Helminths and diseases
Case #1
Section 6 - Tuberculosis
- Malaria
- Filariasis
Case #2
Part IV
Activity Special Work
Section 7 - Test #2 (including Malaria and
- Leishmaniasis
Case #3
Section 8 - Ectoparasites
- Chagas Disease
- Larva Migrans
Case #4
Field trip: depending on the number of students and availability on the different health areas
Part V
Activity Special Work
Section 9 - Ophidic accident
- Dengue
- Paragonimiasis
Case #5
Section 10 Oral Presentations
Final Test

We intend to achieve the above objectives by a series of theoretical and
practical exercises. Students will attend participatory lectures about the history
and development of the social health care system and will also learn about the
private health sector. Sessions will also include a debate that compares the
health system in Costa Rica and in the United States. Discussions and debates
will serve as tools, for students to gain some insight in to the differences in
these two societies and their concepts of health. Lectures and discussion will
be complemented with a visit to one of the main private hospitals in San José,
and contrasted with a visit to one of the primary health care clinics of the public

The course develops a series of participatory lectures about tropical medicine. In order to build a common background, students will learn the most important concepts on clinical history and exploration, relevant to tropical medicine, as well as demographic, epidemiological and environmental concepts.
There are several units that focus on the study of patho-physiological concepts and specific diseases, all this, in order to understand the fundamentals of prevention and promotion of health in the context of tropical diseases.

This course is structured for International Students attending the Study Abroad program at Universidad Veritas. However, courses are not exclusive to foreigners so a few native student could enroll in this course.

Students are only allowed 2 absences (justified or not). The student will fail the course if he/she has more than 2 absences. Students will have a 0 on any assignment evaluated in class (presentations, evaluations, field trips, etc.) if he/she is absent in this class, unless an official document is presented to justify the absence the class after the absence. In this case the assignment will be done this day. An unjustified absence to a fieldtrip will immediately mean failing the course. You can only have two total absences in your elective courses HOWEVER, if you miss more than one day of class in a given month, YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE CREDIT for that particular course.

Electronic devices:
The use of cell phones, smart phones, or other mobile communication devices is disruptive, and is therefore prohibited during class. Please turn all devices OFF and put them away when class begins. Devices may be used ONLY when the professor assigns a specific activity and allows the use of devices for internet search or recording. Those who fail to comply with the rule must leave the classroom for the remainder of the class period.

Professors have the right to expel a student from the classroom should he / she:
1) be disruptive in the classroom
2) be under the influence of alcohol or even smell like alcohol
3) Behave in a disrespectful way.
If you tend to be late for class, you will lose 25% of your total grade

60% Practical work
- Debate about health care systems 20%
- Presentation (Subject will be assigned on the first day) 25%
- Participation and discussion in seminars 5%
- Homework and reading assignments 10%
30% Written Examinations
10% Participatory attendance

Final Exam
Evaluation of the ability of the student to face a health problem and be able to incorporate elements of public health and tropical medicine in the context of the Costa Rican health care system.

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  • Course Name

    Costa Rican Healthcare and Tropical Medicine

  • Sessions Available

  • Host University

    Universidad Veritas

  • Location

    San José, Costa Rica

  • Area of Study

    Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Global Health, Health Science, Nursing, Public Health

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units

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