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Diarrheal Disease


Global Health eLearning Center


Diarrheal Disease




A preventable and treatable disease, diarrhea remains the second leading cause of mortality, as well as a leading cause of malnutrition in children under five years of age. It is estimated to cause some 525,000 deaths every year.

A preventable and treatable disease, diarrhea remains the second leading cause of mortality, as well as a leading cause of malnutrition in children under five years of age. It is estimated to cause some 525,000 deaths every year. Despite the vast implementation of WaSH (water, sanitation and hygiene) principles across the globe, approximately 1.7 billion cases of acute diarrheal disease are reported every year.The course provides a preview of topics such as, epidemiology, prevention and treatment of diarrheal disease. This course has been adapted from a Global Health eLearning (GHeL) course Center under Creative Commons License and modified according to prevailing trends in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs).

After completion of this course, the students will be able to understand:

  • Epidemiology and magnitude of diarrheal diseases among children under the age of five in low and middle-income countries;
  • Main principles of case management for diarrhea in young children;
  • Prevention measures for diarrhea in young children in low-resource settings and challenges to program implementation; and
  • Key factors in diarrhea control programming.

Getting Started
This section provides an introduction to diarrheal disease. It focuses on statistics on the prevalence of the disease as well as the implications. A course overview is provided, with an explanation of the methods of assessment and topics covered, namely, the basics of diarrhea, conducting clinical assessments of the disease, treatment, prevention, program considerations and finally case studies on treatment.
Module - 1: Diarrhea Basics

This module provides an introduction to diarrhea including mechanisms of disease action, pathogens involved, modes of transmission, diarrhea-associated mortality, and the GAPPD framework for diarrhea.

Module - 2: Clinical Assessment for Diarrhea

This module covers the basics of conducting clinical assessments for diarrheal disease. This includes an introduction to clinical assessment and case management for diarrhea, followed by specifics such as the integrated management of child illness (IMCI), the integrated community case management (iCCM), dehydration and its classification, diarrhea with blood in stool, persistent diarrhea, and the assessment of children with diarrhea.

Module - 3: Treatment

This section focuses on the main principles of treatment, the significance of oral rehydration solution (ORS), and zinc supplementation, continued feeding, the use of antibiotics and other drugs, and addressing malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. 

Module - 4: Prevention

This part addresses the prevention of diarrhea, benefits and promotion of exclusive breastfeeding, proper complementary feeding practices, and community health education. 

Module - 5: Programme Considerations

This module encompasses programme components for diarrhea control, programmatic bottlenecks and barriers, programme coordination and resources, community and programme management, quality of care, advocacy, promotion of prevention and treatment behaviours, community mobilisation and social marketing, and targets for diarrhea control programmes.

Module - 6: Case Studies on the Prevention and Treatment of Diarrheal Disease

This section includes case studies based on the introduction of rotavirus vaccine for prevention of diarrhea in Ghana. It also contains two studies involving zinc supplementation: the SUZY project in Bangladesh, and the SHOPS project in Ghana. 

Module-7: Climate Change and Diarrheal Disease in the Pacific Islands

This module is concerned with the diarrheal disease in the context of Pacific Island Countries. It also explains the influence of climate variation and changes on diarrheal disease in the Pacific. This module also includes an example of protecting children from diarrhea in Vanuatu.

Final Assessment Quiz

This final exam is mandatory in order to achieve the certificate.

Pacific Health Security

POLHN has dedicated public health professionals in its DPS research team who have decade long experiences in Health Security and Emergencies, NCDs and Health Through the Life course, and Health System
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Course Questions & Answers

Can't find the answers you're looking for? Get in touch with POLHN! Contact us here and we will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.
Yes, this course has recommended and additional readings. These can all be easily accessed on Moodle.
There is no time limit for completing this course. POLHN recommends spending about 4 hours per week over the period of 6 weeks.
Once you enrol yourself into this course on Moodle you will have access to all the lectures and assignments.
Once you successfully complete your course by completing all the modules and passing all the assessment, your certificate will be automatically generated and sent to your email. You can also access all your certificates through our online certificate verification system here: If you are having any problems accessing your certificate, simply email us at and we will help you.

Study Material

This self-paced course has been designed in a manner that enhances understanding of the core concepts and provides easy to access learning materials. The course uses a range of study material such as pre-recorded videos, lecture slides, quizzes and assignments, and is developed by a team of dedicated health education experts.

Getting Help

Connect with other students through the discussion forum, where you can easily discuss the course or debate the ideas. Need more help? Your instructors are also available online to answer any questions you might have.

Extend Your Career with a Verified Certificate

POLHN self-paced courses are recognised by Pacific Ministries of Health. Once you have successfully completed the course, you will receive an official certificate. This certificate can be used for credit to gain CPD points.

Request more info

This course focuses on prevalence of diarrheal disease. It covers conducting clinical assessments, treatment, disease prevention and diarrheal disease in the Pacific Islands.

Diarrheal Disease

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