Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 726 - Health Protection

15 Points 

Semester 2


Current issues will be used to illustrate principles of health protection as an element of public health at local and national levels. The main inter-related topic areas within health protection: communicable disease control and surveillance, non-communicable disease control, food safety, alcohol and smokefree, and water quality will be discussed, along with identification of health hazards, development of prevention strategies and field implementation methods.

Programme and course advice

This course may be taken towards a general or environmental health pathway for the postgraduate certificate or diploma in Public Health programme.

It is an optional course for students in the BHSc Honours programme.

It is suitable for anyone with an interest in public health practice, including students from courses in environmental science and engineering. Completion of POPLHLTH 760 Principles of Public Health and/or POPLHLTH 708 Epidemiology will facilitate an understanding of some of the epidemiology used but may not be essential.

Course aims

Content outline

The course focuses on the principles of health protection with particular reference to New Zealand. Main topic areas include: communicable disease control and surveillance, control of chemical hazards in the environment, enforcement of public health legislation, food safety, air and water quality, public health emergencies and biosecurity.

Goals of the course

The goal of this course is to introduce the principles and practices of health protection with particular reference to New Zealand using current issues in health protection to illustrate these principles.

Learning outcomes

By the conclusion of the course, it is hoped that each participant will:

  • Understand key methods and tools that are used in health protection
  • Understand how health is protected from communicable disease hazards, and be able to apply these principles to real-life issues
  • Understand how health is protected from chemical hazards in the environment, and be able to apply these principles to real-life issues
  • Understand relevant legislation, including issues in enforcing legislation, and key concepts in planning for and responding to emergencies

Learning and teaching

The course will consist of approximately 24 contact hours in four block teaching days at the School of Population Health, Tāmaki Campus, and is spread throughout the term at approximately monthly intervals and comprises:

  • Lectures of up to two hours duration
  • Discussion sessions, often based on case study material
  • Presentation from guest speakers, experts in their field

The course does not currently require presentations but may include group work and/or workshop sessions. Classes are usually medium in size (15-20 people).

Case studies may be used during tutorial sessions. These will relate to the national (or local) context and will usually be based on real situations that have developed.

Campus teaching dates

This course is held at Tāmaki Campus. Please see your timetable on SSO or Building 730 Reception noticeboard on the day for the room details.

Learning resources

There is no prescribed textbook for the course. Presentations and other material will be posted on-line to Canvas, the student learning management system.

Useful texts, from which several course readings are taken, include:

  • Yassi, A., Kjellstrom, T., de Kok, T., Guidotti, T.L., Basic Environmental Health, Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Cromar, N., Cameron, S., Fallowfield, H., (ed.), Environmental Health in Australia and New Zealand, Oxford University Press, 2004.

The following textbook takes a broader environmental health approach, but also addresses several important aspects of health protection:

  • Frumkin H (ed). Environmental health: from global to local (3rd ed). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass & Pfeiffer Imprints, Wiley, 2016.


Assessment for this course will be based on two assignments each worth 30% of the final mark, and a two-hour examination worth 40%. Students must complete both assignments and the examination and obtain a minimum overall mark of 50% in order to obtain a pass in POPLHLTH 726.

The semester two examination period will be confirmed closer to the date. Note that the examination timetables are not finalised and available to students until 6-8 weeks into the semester. 

Course Coordinator

Course Administrator