The Netherlands Course on Global Health and Tropical Medicine or Nederlandse Tropen Cursus (NTC) provides essential preparation for health professionals such as medical doctors, nurses, and midwives planning to work in low- and middle-income countries. 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 organisations (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 as MD Global Health and Tropical Medicine. For more information, go to: www.oigt.nl.
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 this link.
The NTC is jointly organised 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 as part of the Master in International Health.
“I can put in practice the knowledge I gained during the NTC now in Liberia. The interaction with people from different backgrounds and especially people from different cultures was very useful. It allowed me to adapt quickly in a new environment when I came to Liberia to support the Ebola Outbreak response. The topic of health systems was also useful, since I am using it to support the restoration of health services and rebuilding of health system after Ebola outbreak in Liberia.”
“The lecturers and classmates from different backgrounds and different countries, enriched the MIH courses with knowledge and personal experiences which made a delightful learning process. Together, we learned about current global health issues, the best evidence based strategies and we contributed to develop each other’s skills. Back in my country, Mexico, with the new skills and knowledge, I could improve the ARVs supply chain system nationwide as an essential part of delivering high quality health care to people with HIV/AIDS.”
“The NTC was a perfect preparation for my work as tropical doctor. I was trained in both clinical aspects as more public health related issues by KIT facilitators who had a lot of experience and expertise. This helped me enourmeously during my work in the field. At the same time it was the start of my knowledge, network and carreer in international health. Later I studied the Master in International Health and am currently working on research on heart and vascular diseases in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya.”
“I really enjoyed the group exercises because it really helped to be able to listen to the opinion of classmates from different cultures especially concerning international health issues like gender , TB, HIV etc.. Group work helped boost our interactive skills with each other and also solve problems together by putting all our different perspectives into consideration.”
“What I liked the most was the learning-by-doing approach of the NTC: one day you are playing the role of an European doctor in trouble with her/his staff in Africa to understand the importance of cross-cultural communication and the next you are constructing from zero a health system and looking at the consequences of your decisions for the patients.”
“In 2010 I took the course in Tropical Medicine (NTC), something which proved to be very useful during my experience in both Tanzania and Ethiopia. As midwives we have a quite narrow field of work; mainly obstetrics/midwifery. With the NTC I learned to think of a greater perspective and recognize illnesses like for example tuberculosis and malaria more early during pregnancy.”
As a medical doctor working in a developing country is an exciting challenge. NTC prepared by teaching hands-on medicine, but also looking at health care from a public health and policy perspective. The material is often a helpful resource for me, for in example medical cases, making financial policy, starting a nutrition program or managing the pharmacie.”
“The delineations between Tropical Medicine, International Health and Global Health are waning. The global aspect of our field has at last also touched our training perspectives: increasingly courses on the topic, at least in Europe, are mutually recognized. I could learn about the Dutch specialization of Tropenarts by participating in the NTC, and later on use the NTC certificate for my German specialization in Tropical Medicine. We should keep up the idea of a Global educational network in Global Health.”
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.
The NTC is directed at health professionals (physicians, nurses, midwives, etc.) and aims to be at the cutting edge of clinical and global health. KIT’s approach puts emphasis on the practical application of knowledge and skills using expertise from students and facilitators. Facilitators are active in the field and have up to date knowledge of situations encountered. Therefore we can offer and up-to-date approach to complex global health issues.
Both the facilitators and the students are from various disciplines and countries. This results in a vivid exchange of experiences/ viewpoints/ knowledge. The classroom sessions are highly interactive to facilitate this exchange. The program is 14 weeks full-time study (including 1 week for examination and graduation).
The advisory board of the course consists of the KIT coordination team, representatives of the University Hospital of Amsterdam (UvA), representatives of the CIGT (concilium internationale geneeskunde en Tropengeneeskunde, representatives of international NGO’s, representatives of the VU University Amsterdam and student representatives who meet once a year.
By following the NTC, you will be able to:
- identify and analyse 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, analyse 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
The NTC is divided into 5 modules:
The course starts with the introductory module. The four other modules run simultaneously and are problem based. We have over 60 facilitators with a vast experience who work both within and outside of KIT, often still working in projects in LMIC. The course is problem-based, so we try to connect classes from the different modules that build on each other to fit together in the schedule.
- Introduction Module
- Social Determinants of Health
- Health Needs and Responses
- Basic Research Methods
- Health Systems
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 syndromatic 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 health care, 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 globally are challenged to address demographic changes like 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 organisation of health care at district level, both public and private (NGOs).
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.
The study load of the NTC course is 20 EC. The European Credit Transfer System (EC) facilitates transfer of course credits between institutions at the same academic level. One EC requires 28 hours of student time, which includes class time and independent study.
Full-time or part-time study
The full-time course takes 14 weeks. If you are not able to take 14 weeks off work, selected parts of the course can be followed after discussion with the course management. It is also possible to follow one or more selected sessions of the course (see: separate sessions NTC).
The NTC is assessed through one open book exam and one written assignment, covering the content of all modules.
The NTC is offered twice per year starting in March and September.
Upcoming course dates:
7 September until 11 December 2020
8 March until 11 June 2021
13 September until 17 December 2021
The arrangement of financial support to cover all study costs is the responsibility of the applicant. Please note that KIT does not offer financial support.
Unfortunately there are no OKP scholarships available for the Netherlands Course on Global Health and Tropical Medicine (the NTC is the core course of the MIH/Master in International Health).
Visit the following page for possibilities for financial support.
Classes are held at KIT’s training centre in Amsterdam.
There is a severe shortage of student accommodation in Amsterdam and participants are advised to contact KIT for information. Finding accommodation is the own responsibility of the students, but in practice we try to support as much as possible.
Visas and residence permits
Citizens of most EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands. Visit the Nuffic website for the latest information on visa requirements.
NTC and MIH participants from other countries will need an ‘Authorization for Temporary Stay’ to enter and stay in the Netherlands for longer than three months. This visa should be applied for through KIT.
Participants admitted to the course will receive detailed information as well as a list of documents KIT requires to secure their visa. Applicants should take into account that in some countries this procedure can take several months.
The Netherlands has no national health insurance. According to Dutch law, all participants of international courses and any accompanying dependents are required to have health, accident and third party insurance. Dutch insurance companies offer reasonable rates to foreign students.
The NTC is jointly organised 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, as part of the MIH, NVAO accredited.
Students who fulfill all exam requirements of the NTC receive a certificate. If students follow the entire MIH and fulfill all exam requirements they receive a master’s degree.
- 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 academic TOEFL or IELTS test. A minimum written TOEFL score of 550, iBT TOEFL score of 80, computer based TOEFL score of 213, or an IELTS academic score of 6.0 is required.
- Computer literacy is expected
The application package is due two months before the start of the course. Please upload your application online.
The following documents should be uploaded:
- A one-page letter of motivation
- Copies of your diplomas and grade reports
- An up-to-date curriculum vitae and a list of publications if applicable
- Proof of English proficiency (if applicable)
KIT and VU University Amsterdam require all Master programme applicants (the NTC is the core course of the Master in International Health (MIH)), who have not completed their education in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Philippines, India, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Liberia, or who have not obtained an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma, to enclose proof of English language proficiency in the form of the internationally recognised TOEFL or IELTS tests. (See VU website for more information)
Proven proficiency in spoken and written English academic TOEFL or IELTS test. A minimum written TOEFL score of 550, iBT TOEFL score of 80, computer based TOEFL score of 213, or an IELTS academic score of 6.0 is required. Please note that candidates must take the Academic test and not the General one.
We only accept official TOEFL or IELTS test results which are not older than 3 years!
Note: For Dutch participants academic training is sufficient.
FAQ Online Application System
Do you have a question about our Online Application System? Then you can find the answer in our FAQ Online Application System:
Seperate sessions NTC
Do you want to refresh your knowledge on topics such as HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, pediatrics, essential drugs, gender, traditional healing, health systems?
Now it is possible to follow separate sessions on these topics.
Please contact our course administration team for an overview of topics (e-mail to: email@example.com).
Admission criteria: Bachelor degree and relevant working experience.
Fees for separate sessions:
- Administrative costs 25 EUR (only to be charged once)
- Cost per hour EUR 50 (first 18 hours booked)
- Cost per hour EUR 35 (for any hours of classes booked over 18 hours)
Example 1 day (6 hours) of class = 25 + 6*50 = EUR 325
Example 4 days (24 hours) = 25 + 18*50 + 6*35 = EUR 1135
Why study at KIT?
Up-to-date approach to complex public health issues
Exchange between disciplines
Development of personal and professional competencies
Participants from diverse backgrounds and countries
Teaching by highly qualified specialists
Positively reviewed by tropEd
KIT: international centre of excellence in international health and development
Accredited by NVAO