MSc International Disaster Management

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Ethics, Human Rights and Health

Course unit fact file
Unit code HCRI72000
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Humanitarian Conflict Response Institute
Available as a free choice unit? No



This module will explore the principles of ethics and human rights in relation to public health policies, programs and practice. Intersections of human rights, ethics and public health practice will be discussed in light of the assertion of health as human right issue using examples of HIV/AIDS, health provision to undocumented migrants in Europe and children in especially difficult circumstances. A total of eight individual lectures will be provided which gives students the opportunity to re-think the ethical and moral foundations of their every-day public health practice especially in complex humanitarian settings.  


Provide students knowledge on the contestable principles of health care ethics and human rights and their impact on health policy, program and practice.

Students will also gain knowledge in recognising the ethical dilemmas of gender, sexuality, displacement and power.

Reflect on the ethical dilemmas of foreign-led health care delivery in conflict areas.

Learning outcomes

Understand the principles and legal frameworks of human rights, ethics and health.

Apply the human rights approach to critically evaluate public health policy and practice.

Understand how the human rights framework acts as a means of highlighting rights violations, a guide for integrating rights in practice on multiple levels, and a means of seeking redress when rights are violated.

Gain insights into how to practically use public health ethical and human rights frameworks in professional practice.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Understand the basic principles of health care ethics and human rights
  • Understand the role of gender, sexuality, ethnicity and power in the uptake and delivery of health care programs
  • Recognise the ethical and human rights dilemmas in health care to illegal/undocumented/displaced populations
  • Understand the ethical and human rights dilemmas of foreign-led health care delivery

Intellectual skills

  • Re-think the approach to public health policy and programs using ethical and human rights tools
  • Reflect on their own position and practice as health care providers in resource poor settings

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Health policy and program analysis

Assessment methods

Contribution to Discussion Board - 10%

Creation of Group Wiki - 15%

Final Essay - 75%

Additional notes

Please note that these units are intensive 8-week short courses, predominately independent-study, with no face-to-face learning

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