Netherlands Course on Global Health and Tropical Medicine (NTC)


Program Description

The Netherlands Course on Global Health and Tropical Medicine or Nederlandse Tropen Cursus (NTC) provides essential preparation for medical doctors, nurses, midwives and other health professionals who intend to work in low- and middle-income countries or societies. Participants may be preparing to work in a district hospital at the first level of referral or intend to participate in health care projects with non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The NTC can be taken as a stand-alone course or as part of the Master in International Health course (MIH). In the Netherlands, the NTC forms part of a post-graduate training programme for physicians leading to a diploma in tropical medicine. For more information, go to For health professionals who want to go abroad for a short period, it is also possible to follow separate sessions of the NTC course. For more information follow the link. The NTC is jointly organized by the Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre (VU) in Amsterdam, the University Hospital of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and KIT (Royal Tropical Institute ) and is NVAO accredited.


Many healthcare professionals want to contribute to health in low and middle-income countries. In order to make a meaningful and appropriate contribution, meaningful knowledge of the context and of local health problems is vital. By following the NTC, you will be able to:

  • identify and analyze interrelated determinants of health and major health problems of populations in low and middle-income societies.
  • plan sustainable improvements of health systems, taking into account diverse cultural settings and social and ethical responsibilities
  • critically collect, analyze and appraise qualitative and quantitative data relevant to the improvement of health and health care in low and middle-income societies
  • clearly communicate and work professionally in a multidisciplinary team

Programme structure

The NTC is divided into 5 modules:

  • Introduction Module
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Health Needs and Responses
  • Basic Research Methods
  • Health Systems

Introduction Module

This module aims to develop the learning and communication skills needed for the course and for future practice. You will examine cultural and international contexts.

Social Determinants of Health

The factors that have the most significant influence on health are known as determinants of health. While health care services make a contribution to health status, most of the key determinants of health lie outside the direct influence of health care, such as gender, education, culture, employment, and environment. This module aims at providing you with an overview of these determinants and with the policy tools devised to address them.

Health Needs and Responses

You will need knowledge and skills to address the most important diseases and health problems occurring in resource-poor conditions. In this module, particular attention is given to the three main killer diseases: HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Sexual and reproductive health and health care for children are also discussed. Because of the poor diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities, we concentrate on a syndromic approach.

Basic Research Methods

This module familiarises you with quantitative and qualitative research methods and how to critically appraise literature. Principles of statistics, epidemiology and study design are applied to help students answer questions such as Which determinants and/or risk factors of diseases are most important to address? Which intervention has the most impact? A socio-cultural perspective on health, illness, and healthcare, medical anthropology, and sociology is used to examine and address questions such as: Why patients do or do not seek health care in time?

Health Systems

Health systems globally are challenged to address demographic changes in population growth, technological developments, and a more assertive demand for quality care. At the same time, many countries already have trouble achieving or maintaining access for the poor while containing costs. The emphasis in this module is on the practical implementation of health programs and the organization of health care at the district level, both public and private (NGOs).

Learning methods

The content of the course is oriented as much as possible to the working situation of the participants.Participants have intensive contact with highly qualified staff who are active in the field. Methods are varied and students will learn through discussions, group work, lectures, case studies, exercises, serious gaming, and self-study. Simulations and role plays are used to familiarise you with problem-solving in cross-cultural management and planning. Reading material is prepared and distributed beforehand. Online repositories are used for learning material; laptops and/or tablets are required.

Study load

The study load of the NTC course is 20 ECTS. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) facilitates the transfer of course credits between institutions at the same academic level. One ECTS requires 30 hours of student time, which includes class time and independent study.

Admission criteria

  • Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent academic training in medicine or any paramedical science
  • Two years of relevant work experience, incl. work experience in low and middle-income settings
  • Proven proficiency in spoken and written English
  • Computer literacy is expected

Last updated Sep 2018

About the School

KIT (Royal Tropical Institute) equips health professionals to address public health challenges around the world. We offer master programs and advanced courses at our training facilities in Amsterdam ... Read More

KIT (Royal Tropical Institute) equips health professionals to address public health challenges around the world. We offer master programs and advanced courses at our training facilities in Amsterdam and through e-learning. Read less