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This module provides health professionals from non-tropical countries an additional training in the diagnosis and management of tropical diseases, topics which are not or only minimally covered by university undergraduate curricula. Health professionals from the South may find this course a useful update on prior acquired knowledge.

The module stands on its own. Yet it is, together with the introduction in international health, making up the postgraduate course in tropical medicine and international health. We advise medical doctors, biomedical and pharmaceutical scientists with little or no professional experience in developing countries, to follow both modules.


This course provides a specialized training on tropical disease for medical doctors on the one hand and biomedical scientists and pharmacists on the other.

Programme of the course for medical doctors:

  • descriptive pathology of tropical diseases in adults and children: history, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment of the most important tropical and emerging diseases;
  • laboratory skills training focusing on use and maintenance of microscope – normal elements of blood – microscopic examination of body fluids for main parasites;
  • clinical decision-making: introduction and exercises in the building blocks of clinical reasoning: predictive power, thresholds, Bayes theorem on a logarithmic scale, complex parallel weighted reasoning; integration of newly acquired disease knowledge in existing scripts and of new scripts in a personal diagnostic framework;
  • pediatrics: tropical diseases in children, differences with adults, differential diagnosis in tropical settings, treatment of children with tropical diseases in low-resource settings;
  • dermatology: tropical dermatological ailments, differentialdiagnosis in tropical settings, treatment for dermatological diseases in low-resource settings;
  • ophthalmology: tropical ophthalmologic ailments, differential diagnosis in tropical settings, treatment for ophthalmologic diseases in lo-resource settings;
  • micronutrient deficiencies: vit A, vit D, Vit B1, vit C, iodine and iron deficiencies;
  • sexually transmitted infections and syndromic approach.

Learning objectives of the course for medical doctors:

At the end of this module students should be able to:

  • master the biomedical, clinical and epidemiological features of tropical diseases and micronutrient deficiencies;
  • perform basic laboratory tests and interpret their results;
  • rank the most appropriate diagnoses according to likelihood, explore a differential diagnosis and discuss clinical management in low and middle income countries through an in-depth analysis of the epidemiological context, clinical epidemiological findings, laboratory and imaging results, taking into account the scarcity of resources.

Programme of the course for biomedical scientists and pharmacists:

  • problem-based cases on tropical diseases and laboratory management;
  • lectures on capita selecta;
  • laboratory skills training.

Learning objectives of the course for biomedical scientists and pharmacists:

At the end of this module students should be able to:

  • describe the natural history of tropical diseases;
  • confer with clinicians on clinical cases;
  • manage a district laboratory in a low-resource setting.


The course uses a combination of state of the art lectures, interactive classes, individual study and practical laboratory work.

The lecturers have extensive experience overseas and come from all departments of the ITM as well as from external institutions. Their field experience and scientific work feeds extensively into the course.


At the end of the course, exams are organized. The theoretical exam consist of multiple choice questions. Furthermore there is a practical laboratory exam and an oral exam. Students who pass the module receive a credit certificate.


The course starts early January and finishes by the end of February (8 weeks).

It is a full-time programme of 240 contact hours and students are expected to dedicate another 15 to 20 hours per week to personal study and group work.


The course is organized simultaneously in French and English.

For the English course, students for whom English is not their first language must provide evidence of a 6.5 IELTS score (or 580 TOEFL score). Exemption from this requirement may be granted to those who completed higher education in the English language.

Students attending the French course are expected to have passive knowledge of English to be able to read and understand English scientific literature, and therefore must equally provide an English assessment certificate.

For biomedical scientists and pharmacists this short course will only be taught in English.


Applicants for this course need a degree in Medicine or a university (master) degree (min 240 ECTS credits) in biomedical or pharmaceutical sciences.

For organizational purposes, a maximum of 50 students is admitted for each language. Places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Application forms can be downloaded from (teaching & training > course overview > short courses) or can be obtained from the course secretariat. For deadlines, please consult the overview table of our brochure or on our website.


You will find information on the exact fee in the general ITM course overview table of our brochure or on our website (teaching & training > course overview).

There are no institutional scholarships for this course.

After approval of your application, the registration fee should be paid into the ITM’s account nr. 220-0531111-72 (Fortis, Warandeberg 3, 1000 Brussel), BIC/SWIFT: GEBABEBB, IBAN BE 38 2200 5311 1172.

Belgian participants who wish to make use of ‘opleidingscheques’ to pay part of their tuition fee ( will be reimbursed later upon submission of the ‘opleidingscheques’.

In case of non-participation due to events outside the applicant’s control, the tuition fee less 15% for administrative costs can be refunded.

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