CP0327 - Demography and Health

SchoolCardiff School of Planning and Geography
Department CodeCPLAN0
Module CodeCP0327
External Subject CodeK400
Number of Credits20
Language of DeliveryEnglish
Module Leader Dr Georgina Santos
SemesterSpring Semester
Academic Year2013/4

Outline Description of Module

This module outlines major trends in demography and health in the developing and developed worlds. There is a theoretical basis to the examination of the discipline of demography, the demographic transition, and of models describing the interaction between health, fertility and mortality. Case studies of specific health issues such as HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality, hunger and famine and the role of pharmaceutical companies will be presented to illustrate the complexity of changes in population and health and the basis of competing theoretical approaches. All of this will be explored within the context of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and with current trends in international development practice in mind.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

1.    Appreciate the role of politics, economics and culture in explaining past and present patterns in health and population change.

2.    Show an awareness of global trends in fertility, mortality, migration and morbidity at different levels and for different groups.

3.    Express an understanding of the relationships between health, ill health and demographic change in various settings and within the MDGs’ framework.

Students should be capable of these both orally, in discussion and debate, and in written form in the assessment exercises for the module.

How the module will be delivered

There will be 10 three-hour lectures/seminars. Each will involve discussion. Some will include video and other audio-visual presentations relevant to the topic under consideration, others an opportunity for students to make presentations on certain subjects. The sessions are accompanied by detailed notes and guided reading. One guest speaker (Angela Gorman) will describe her current work on maternal health in aid projects with mothers in African countries.

Skills that will be practised and developed

A limited number of quantitative skills and concepts will be used in discussing trends in demography and health. In addition, transferable skills explaining demographic, epidemiological and development-related concepts and methods will be utilised. These have applicability in various academic disciplines, professional settings and within contemporary political campaigns. The module will also develop an appreciation of the causes (and to an extent the consequences) of high levels of morbidity and mortality throughout the world.  It is hoped that this will engender values of compassion towards the suffering of high mortality populations in both less- and more-developed countries – in particular through the input of the guest speaker.  It is anticipated that students will develop a critical attitude towards the institutions and processes which are responsible for overseeing health/ill health and international aid, linked to matters of social injustice and economic inequality.

How the module will be assessed

Type of assessment





(if applicable)

Approx. date of Assessment

Class presentation


The class will be divided into smaller groups which, in the second half of the Semester, will take it in turns to make a collective oral/visual presentation on a pre-agreed and researched topic to the rest of the class.  Feedback will be received from the class and from the module tutor.

45 minutes to 1 hour each

Late March and April



A choice is made among a range of titles which will be based on the lecture/seminar topics. Each of the three key pieces of understanding for students outlined above, and their knowledge in the particular theme chosen, will be measured in the content of the essay.

1,200 words

Late in the Spring Semester, for submission near the Semester’s end

Written Examination


Two questions, to be answered from a selection of 6 titles. Students will need to demonstrate a mixture of the three learning outcomes highlighted in the section above regarding students’ abilities on completion of the module.

1.5 hours

During the May/June Spring examination period

Class and group debates and discussions


Linked to the learning outcomes and skills. Formative assessment.


Most of the module sessions


Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Examination - Spring Semester 50
Demography And Health
1.5 1 N/A
Written Assessment 25
N/A 1 N/A
Presentation 25
Demography And Health - Class Presentation
N/A 1 N/A

Syllabus content

An initial look at the work of the United Nations and its Millennium Development Goals leads to a more detailed study of MDG 6 on HIV/AIDS. The role of transnational pharmaceutical companies is then analysed, followed by a study of the differences between hunger and famine, with particular attention paid to Bangladesh. The relationship between demographic processes and population characteristics is covered by looking at the causes of demographic change, their likely global outcomes, and models of interaction between health, fertility, ill health and mortality. The complexity of outcomes in development, and their dependence on a variety of political, social and economic factors, is covered through a number of case studies, including examples of aid programmes and health systems. The module content is all mandatory.


Essential Reading and Resource List

Allen T and Thomas A (eds. 2000) Poverty and Development into the 21st century, Oxford University Press

Goldacre B (2012) Bad Pharma, London, Fourth Estate

Gray A (ed. 2001) World Health and Disease, Buckingham, Open University Press

Lappe FM et alia (1998) World Hunger: 12 myths, London, Earthscan, 2nd edition

Lee K et al (eds. 2002) Health in a Globalising World, Cambridge University Press

Sen A (1981) Poverty and Famines: an essay on entitlement and deprivation, Oxford, Clarendon Press

Sen K (ed. 2003) Restructuring Health Services: changing contexts and comparative perspectives, London, Zed Books

United Nations (2012) The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012, New York, UN

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