Through case studies and analysis, students will develop a deep understanding of the importance of addressing priority health concerns for these populations and examine public health approaches to the provision of health information and services for women and children in diverse contexts. A focus on the relationship between course content and application to practice is embedded, as are reflections on the Sustainable Development Goals and achieving Universal Health Coverage through equity and rights-based approaches.

The course takes a life-course approach to women’s and children’s health, moving from maternal and reproductive health, through newborn and child health and development, to adolescent health, and finally to priority women’s health issues. Each week provides an overview of key health concerns relevant to that week’s topic area, and students conduct an exploration of the social and cultural determinants of these health issues, followed by a discussion of public health approaches to address these determinants and health outcomes. Social justice, equity and rights-based frameworks are applied to learning and discussion throughout the course.

Mode of study

Fully online

Key contacts

Dr Kristen Beek
Course Convenor
+61 (2) 9385 5890

Who should do this course?

This is an elective course in the Bachelor of International Public Health (3880) comprising 6 units of credit towards the total required for completion of the study program.

Course outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of historical developments in global initiatives to reduce maternal and child mortality
  2. discuss the importance of women’s and children’s health in the international context drawing on key theoretical approaches
  3. interpret relevant data and key indicators describing the health status of women and children in a population
  4. outline the leading causes of death and morbidity among mothers, newborns and children under-five globally and nationally, including differences between Australia, the United States or England and low-middle income countries
  5. identify the key stakeholders and organisations and agencies that impact on women’s and children’s health internationally
  6. describe the determinants of health that influence women’s and children’s health status during the life course with reference to the continuum of care and the challenges to reducing women and child mortality and morbidity in resource-poor settings
  7. examine assumptions inherent in cultural practices affecting women’s and children’s health
  8. appraise current public health strategies addressing poor health outcomes for women and children internationally
  9. reflect on the women’s and children’s health priorities in the Sustainable Development Goals, and think critically and creatively about how to reduce maternal and child mortality and morbidity and to advance women’s and children’s health by 2030.

Learning & teaching

This course has been designed to support you in gaining a deep understanding of the determinants of women’s and children’s health globally, how these impact health outcomes and trends over time, the importance of addressing key health issues, and how approaches to improving the health status of these important populations may be applied to professional practice in public health. To this aim, the key learning and teaching strategies for this course are:

  • the provision of weekly lectures, including guest lectures from experts and practitioners in the field
  • online discussion, multimedia content and interactive activities
  • the provision of key resources including articles, policy documents and government reports to read, websites to explore and analyse, videos and documentaries to view, and opportunities for further self-directed study and exploration.

These will be used to ensure that students are presented with a range of theoretical perspectives and practical examples from the field, together with key global guidance documents and resources for women’s and children’s health globally.

The course is delivered entirely online over a 10-week term. Students are expected to spend approximately 10 to 15 hours a week preparing for and actively participating in the course and preparing for and completing assessments tasks.


Assessment Task 1 – Online Blog & Comment on Peer's Blog
Weighting: 40%
Length: 1500 words + 200-word comment on peer’s blog

Assessment Task 2 – Major Essay
Weighting: 40%
Length: 2000 words

Assessment Task 3 – Online Discussion
Weighting: 20%
Length: 250 words maximum/post

Readings & resources 

The following learning resources for this course are available on Moodle:

  • lesson recordings and transcripts
  • weekly lists of readings and viewings that include ‘required readings and viewings’ you will need to engage with to complete course activities and achieve course outcomes
  • optional readings and viewings, and resources for further self-directed study and exploration.