E learning of public health pharmacology
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E-LEARNING OF PUBLIC HEALTH PHARMACOLOGY. Huss R , Summers R, Pries K Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg -Department of Tropical Hygiene and Public Health (ATHOEG), Medical University of Southern Africa (MEDUNSA), Intercultural Consultance and Studies (INCCAS). Abstract.

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Huss R, Summers R, Pries K

Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg -Department of Tropical Hygiene and Public Health (ATHOEG),

Medical University of Southern Africa (MEDUNSA),

Intercultural Consultance and Studies (INCCAS)


Title: E-Learning of Public Health Pharmacology

Authors: Huss R, Summers R, Pries K

Institutions: University of Heidelberg - Department of Tropical Hygiene and Public Health (ATHOEG), Medical University of Southern Africa (MEDUNSA), Intercultural Consultance and Studies (INCCAS)

Opportunity: E-learning can be defined as any form of learning that uses electronic media for imparting content and communication. One option is web-based training with tutoring and networking of learners. This provides a unique opportunity where participants who are separated by geographic distances and work in different parts of the health sector can learn together as a cyber group. Public health pharmacology (PHP) is especially suitable for such a learning process where a group of international and interdisciplinary students work together, because it has a global population perspective. The goal of PHP is the rational use of pharmaco-therapeutic resources in order to promote the universal human right to adequate health care.

Objectives: To describe the structure, learning objectives, methodology and content of the E-learning course “Management of Medicines in International Health”.

Target Audience: Health professionals from Africa, Asia and Latin America interested in PHP and with sufficient command of English to participate in a combined E-learning and contact course.

Design: A 3-phase design combines an online introduction, the course and a contact workshop at the end. During the first phase the participants get to know each other, familiarise themselves with the tools and methods of E-learning and make a short situation analysis of medicine management in their local context. The course consists of 6 modules, each module divided into four lectures. Other parts of the course are a case scenario, exercises at the end of each lecture, and a multiple choice test at the end of each module. Different methods of learning and media for communication are combined. All these activities are continuously assisted by a tutor and facilitator. The course ends with a workshop in which each participant presents a project to improve medicine management in her/his work environment.

Outcome Measures: Evaluation of critical events and a qualitative and quantitative participant evaluation. The results of exercises and responses to the multiple choice questions are analysed.

Results and Conclusions: These can only be presented at a later date.

Acknowledgements: Many people have contributed in different ways to this course. In particular we would like to thank Veronique Heon-Klin from INWENT, Sonja Horchler, Doreen Montag from the University of Heidelberg, and Monika Zweygarth of the School of Pharmacy, MEDUNSA.

Funding and Coordination: Internationale Weiterbildung und Entwicklung gGmbH

(INWENT), Capacity Building International, Germany


E-learning provides an opportunity for participants who are separated by huge geographic distances and work in different parts of the health sector can learn together as an international and interdisciplinary cyber group.

Public health pharmacology:Taking a population perspective to the availability and use of medicines has been referred to as public health pharmacology. Its aim is to inform society about the required pharmaco-therapeutic resources and their best use for the common therapeutic good of the whole population to fulfil the universal human right to adequate health care.

This course deals with 3 important themes:

1. The methodological theme concerns the role and importance of e-learning in international health.

2. The moral and ethical issue of relevant and effective health care as a universal human right.

3. The political and economic issue which concerns the way global society creates and distributes immaterial wealth such as knowledge about new therapies and the discovery of new active substances for the treatment of human diseases. There is an essential difference between material and immaterial wealth. While the former is lost, if passed on to someone else, the latter remains with the original owner even if shared and passed on to other people and societies.

Web Design Concept

In designing the online component of the course particular attention was paid to the needs of participants from low income countries who are often faced with limited Internet access and high connection fees. To keep the amount of data transfer to a minimum, flash animation, videos and similar features were left out.

The aim was to create a visually attractive and modern interface while simultaneously ensuring that each web page can be accessed quickly (max. size 350 KB). Graphic elements were designed accordingly (small graphics, with the option to obtain larger ones). The course materials can also be downloaded, so the participants can do much of their work offline.

The design concept adheres to the principles of an “Internet without barriers” (simple design, highly contrasting color combinations for print/graphics/background, etc.), except concerning access for the visually impaired. Fulfilling these requirements is an issue for the Global Campus 21 in general where the course is located: http://www.gc21.de

User-friendliness was a priority in creating both the individual web pages (full-screen view that does not require scrolling) and the clearly arranged menu. The modules are marked by different colors, and the background color scheme changes along with each new module.

Target Groups - General Objectives

The target groups of the course are health professionals, prescribers and other doctors, pharmacists, health service managers, administrators and nurses from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

As general objectivesthe participants are able

To define medicines as an essential part of preventive, curative and rehabilitative health care services,

To regard medicines from a holistic public health perspective as one of several possible alternatives to deal with a health problem,

To explain the best use of a medicine budget,

To describe the opportunities of the internet to obtain information through email discussion groups and websites,

To use the internet to find the required information and to establish a virtual professional network

Specific Objectives

After studying the 7 modules participants should be able

Module 0: to describe how globalisation effects the management of medicines,

Module 1: to describe the historical evolution and the current context of medicine use in different health care systems,

Module 2: to describe the framework and components of a medicine supply system,

Module 3: to describe certain concepts, procedures and tools used with essential medicines,

Module 4: to apply the personal medicine concept,

Module 5: to explain the concept and factors of rational medicine use,

Module 6: to describe quality, price and financing of medicines and the training of health professionals as important determinants for the provision of essential medicines.

M 0 : Globalization and Medicines

2 weeks

M 1: Introduction and History

3 weeks

M 3: Availability of Medicines

M 2: Supply Management

3 weeks

3 weeks

M 4: P-Medicines Concept

3 weeks

M 5: Rational Use of Medicines

3 weeks

M 6: Good quality and low price

3 weeks

Course concept and structure

Blended learning: Mix of online modules and F2F Mix of online and offline media















Face :





1 week









Interaction with tutors and other participants

Module Structure

Case Scenario

Objective of Case Scenario:

Emotional identification, motivation and change of attitude

Each Module is introduced with a story from the Case Scenario of Dr. Good Will and Dr. Common Good. These names are not random but intentional choices: The common good for people is a very short description of what public health pharmacology wants to achieve.


Each of the lectures consists of text documents which are supported by drawings, graphs, tables or photographs.


After each lecture follows an exercise linked to the case scenario of Dr. Good Will and Dr. Common Good. These exercises are continuously assisted by the tutor.

Glossary and Case Studies

The glossary appears in pop-up widows to explain technical terms, as they occur in the texts. A search function allows participants to call up technical terms referred to throughout the course.

Case studies are provided to give students a better understanding of a subject such as a National Drug Policy in a specific environment. Participants are also invited to provide case studies from their own working environment which may become part of the course.


  • Outcome Measures: Evaluation of critical events by the course organisers and a qualitative and quantitative participant evaluation. The results of exercises and responses to the multiple choice questions are analysed. These will be available after the first pilot course at the end of 2004.

  • Your analysis and contribution:

    Please browse through the course

    on the CD-ROM available with this presentation.

    We invite you to give critical comments

    regarding course concept, objectives, structure and contents.

    A semi-structured questionnaire is provided for this purpose.

    Thank you!

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