Course: Tropical Environmental Health

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Course Description

Inadequate water supplies and lack of sanitation facilities represent major hazards to the public health in many parts of the world. In spite of the International Water Supply Decade, (1980-1990) there are more people without facilities approaching minimum standards now than existed at the beginning of the program. Without improvements in these areas, there can be no hope that there will be an overall improvement in the health of the nations which constitute the Third World. Yet appropriate technologies do exist which can go a long way to ameliorate these problems. Simple, low cost projects can be built and maintained by village-based methods. These are being used in some countries and provide a basis for the improvement of living standards for the poorer people of the world. This is a practical course designed to demonstrate actual details of construction and provide a working knowledge of simple mechanisms involved in ventilating latrines and also on how simple pumps work. You should end with a good idea about how these tings work and how they can be maintained.

During this class we will be discussing some of the problems arising from poor facilities in many developing countries. We will examine problems associated with solid waste disposal and see the enormity of the problem. We will come up with some suggestions about how to ameliorate the problems... There are few real solutions....


There is no textbook for this course. The required readings are a complilation of articles and documents that have been assembled into a coursepack. This coursepack is only available from Matthews Johns Hopkins Medical Book Center: 1830 East Monument Street, Baltimore, MD 21205 USA; 410.955.3931; 800.266.5725; 410.955.0576 Fax

Course Requirements

Your output from this course will be an essay. This essay must be designed as follows:

You should define a problem with the focus of this course. The essay should contain a section outlining the health issues associated with the problem and how these can be measured or quantified. You will have to identify a web site which deals with issues in Tropical Public Health, summarize the major points considered in the web site and look over the technologies which are utilized. From the class discussion, you will develop a critique of the approach. This could be positive or negative, depending how you see the problem.

You should consider such aspects as sustainability, local personnel to implement and the technologies to be used. This is not a project with a massive input of money over a limited time. The question is how to sustain the work over the long haul. Finally you should consider how to assess the impact of the program.