Double Burden of Disease

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Double Burden of Disease

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Global Health, Health Science

  • 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

  • ECTS Credits

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


    • To be able to explain the double and triple burden of diseases
    • To understand causes and effects of the double and triple burden of diseases
    • To gain insight into health outcomes of the double and triple burden of disease
    • To gain insight in possible ways to address the double and triple burden of disease in the health system
    • To acquire skills on finding, reading and integrating relevant literature for a scientific essay
    • To learn how to translate and communicate scientific results to the public.

    NB. special attention will be paid throughout the course to the mental health as underlying factor influencing both double and triple burden of disease

    The WHO states that "(m)any low- and middle-income countries are now facing a "double burden" of disease. While they continue to deal with the problems of communicable diseases (CDs) and under-nutrition, they are experiencing a rapid upsurge in non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors such as obesity and hypertension, particularly in urban settings. Also certain comorbidities (CD & NCD) may adversely affect one another, for example diabetes and tuberculosis. As Bygbjerg (2012) says: ‘intervention against either health problem (CD/NCD) will affect the other, intervening jointly against non-communicable and infectious diseases, rather than competing for limited funds is an important policy consideration requiring new thinking and approaches.’ The triple burden of disease, goes beyond CDs and NCDs and includes health problems due to war, violence, accidents, and so on. From the practice we do know that both double and triple burden of disease is heavily influenced by the mental health state of the population. That is why within the present course, special attention will be paid to the factors influencing mental health, it organisation and how all of the above influences the double and triple burden of disease.

    To battle the DBoD and TBoD we need changes, for example shifts in healthcare policies, healthcare systems, preventive campaigns and so on. During this course you will gain an understanding in the causes for the development of "double and triple burden" of disease. First, we explore the double burden of disease and its causes from a global perspective. During this, we discuss several more specific examples of the double burden of disease and how it affects people, professionals and health care systems. Next, We will review the state of global mental health: morbidity, cultural differences, organisation of the service provision etc. Finally, we will look at the interventions and health system responses to address the double burden of disease as well as underlying mental health problems.

    Lectures, Work groups, self study, examination

    Written exam (50%)
    Writing assignment (individual essay) (15%)
    Short health promotion video (group) (15%)
    Presentation (20%)

    All parts need to be passed (grade 5.5 or higher)

    We recommend student to have been enrolled in the minor courses Future Challenges in Global Health and Drivers for Change in Global Health.

    Students following the minor Global health or other students with a background in health- or biomedical science or another relevant bachelor programme in the beta sciences.

    Guest lecturers will be invited to discuss fieldwork and research.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; others help us improve the user experience. By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies.

Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.