Community Health Interventions


At the end of this syllabus, the students should have learned:
1. To recognize the characteristics of health systems that enable them to act effectively for disease control, health promotion and alleviation of the impoverishing effects of disease.
2. To integrate knowledge from epidemiology and resource management in order to identify the most adequate types of interventions for different types of health problems.
3. To utilize different methodologies and information to undertake health needs assessments.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Paulo Ferrinho


Weekly - 6

Total - 40

Teaching language



Not applicable


• Abramson JH and ZH Abramson (2008). Research Methods in Community Medicine - Surveys, Epidemiological Research, Programme Evaluation, Clinical Trials. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
• Anderson A (2005). The Community Builder’s Approach to Theory of Change. The Aspen Institute.
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MMWR (2016). Development of the Community Health Improvement Navigator Database of Interventions. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 65(2).
• Fonseca-Becker F and Amy A (2008). Community Health Care’s – Process for Evaluation: A participatory approach for increasing sustainability. Springer Science. DOI 10.1007/978-0-387-77377-3.
• Fritz JM and Rhéaume J (2014). Community Intervention – Clinical Sociology Perspectives. Springer Science. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4939-0998-8.
• Guttmacher S, Kelly P and Ruiz-Janecko Y (2010). Community-Based Health Interventions: Principles and Applications. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
• Harris M (2010). Evaluating public and community health programs. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
• Singer M (2009). Introduction to syndemics – a critical systems approach to public and community health. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
• World Health Organization (2008). Community-directed interventions for major health problems in Africa – a multi-country study. Final Report. World Health Organization on behalf of the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Disease (TDR).

Teaching method

Classroom teaching; guided information search; tutorship of practical work on the utilization of concepts, data and methodologies.

Evaluation method

Assessment includes:
a) the integration of knowledge and capacities among the thematic contents – individual work (60%);
b) the application of knowledge to the study of specific situations and cases – group work (40%).

Subject matter

I. The association between health, development and poverty alleviation: i) the bi-directional associations; ii) fair financing as part of the basic social protection floor; iii) health, poverty and exclusion.
II. Health needs assessment: i) definitions; ii) risk and risk groups; iii) the information needed; iv) empirical examples; v) tutoring for individual work.
III. Efficient health systems as a basis for interventions: i) financing, organization, effectiveness and efficiency – the proofs of the goodness of poverty alleviation policies and strategies; ii) health systems’ reform and the consequences on their social objectives.
IV. The design of interventions for disease prevention and control: i) priority selection; ii) a typology of public health interventions; iii) intervention strategies: technology+coverage. 4 basic configurations; iv) the example of reducing Maternal Mortality.
V. Case Studies: i) the control of Endemic Diseases; ii) Non-Communicable Chronic Diseases.


Programs where the course is taught: