The course takes a critical look at global strategies for improving maternal and child health with a focus on the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health 2016-2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The course covers a breadth of global public health issues in this area including:

  • the epidemiology of maternal and child health
  • antenatal care and birthing
  • maternal, infant and child nutrition
  • maternal and newborn health among Indigenous Australians
  • HIV infection in women and children
  • immunisation, as well as global programs and policies in maternal and child health with a focus on the social determinants of health including gender equity. 

Case studies, theories and relevant policies from developed and developing countries will be presented for discussion and debate to improve students understanding of maternal and child health issues in a variety of contexts.

This is an elective course for the Public Health, Global Health, Health Leadership and Management and Infectious Diseases Intelligence Programs, comprising 6 units of credit towards the total required for completion of these study programs. There are no pre-requisites for this course.

Mode of study

External (Distance) and Internal (Face-to-Face) classes on campus

Key contact

Dr Blessing Akombi-Inyang
Course Convenor
+61 (2) 9385 8687

Who should do this course?

The course will be most suitable for those wishing to gain a deeper understanding of maternal and child health issues through a gender and public health lens.

Course outcomes

This course aims to provide an understanding of the key issues in maternal and child health in a national and global context. It will also provide a critical overview of global strategies focused on improving maternal and child health. These issues will be explored from a public health perspective that is sensitive to gender and the social determinants of health.

The outcomes for this course are to enable you to:

  • discuss the importance of reproductive, maternal and child health in national and international contexts drawing on key theoretical approaches and through interpreting relevant data
  • outline the leading causes of ill-health and death among mothers, newborns and children under-five globally and the potential implications for policy and practice
  • distinguish key stakeholders and partners involved in international reproductive, maternal and child health and discuss their values, activities and stake in the field
  • describe the determinants of health that influence reproductive, maternal and child health status and discuss potential solutions for addressing future challenges
  • appraise the current public health strategies addressing reproductive, maternal and child health internationally, and identify an issue to research in depth, justifying why this is currently an issue of significance
  • identify the public health needs of population subgroups, particularly Australia’s Indigenous people, and critically review the reasons and challenges for improving maternal and child health in Indigenous or other traditional societies.

Learning & teaching

Class participants come from diverse backgrounds, with varied forms of professional training and experience.  Participants come from Australia and a number of other countries, with some students internal and others external. The design of the course aims to ensure that every student can see its relevance and benefit from it. In particular, it aims to give external and internal students the same challenges and opportunities through the utilisation of technology.

We aim to facilitate an interactive, creative and supportive learning environment where you are able to develop your own understanding of the content and how it relates to different contexts, contribute your ideas, and debate issues with your facilitators and peers. Throughout the course you are encouraged to critically appraise the information presented to you, and ultimately determine what you think is of most relevance.


Assessment Task 1 – Short Essay
Weighting: 30%
Length: 1000 words

Assessment Task 2 – Long Essay
Weighting: 50%
Length: 2500 words

Assessment Task 3 – Contribution as lead discussant to a weekly discussion topic + participation
Weighting: 20%
Length: 200 words

Readings & resources 

Learning resources for this course consist of:

  • course notes and readings
  • materials made available in Moodle
  • lecture recordings and slides
  • supplementary resources such as videos and podcasts.

Recommended textbooks