New Change to the VCE HHD Study Design!By Olivia Soliman in VCE
8th of July 2019
So, it appears that the VCAA have decided they’re going to change an aspect of the study design! A bit of a bummer, but luckily, it’s in Unit 4, AOS2, so hopefully there shouldn’t need to be any unlearning and relearning at this point in the year.
It’s currently published on the main HHD page on their site, but there is a lot of information there that can get quite confusing, so I’ll try to break it down a little bit here.
So, what’s changed?
The study design dot point that’s been ratified is the one about the World Health Organisation (WHO) leadership priorities. Specifically, this key knowledge dot point:
“priorities and work of the WHO”
and this corresponding key skills dot point:
“explain the priorities and the work of the WHO and discuss how the WHO priorities are reflected in different scenarios”
which are (well, were!) these leadership priorities:
- Social, Economic and Environmental Determinants
- Health related Sustainable Development Goals
- Universal Health Coverage
- The International Health Regulations
- Increasing Access to Medical Products
- Non-Communicable Diseases
These are likely also the ones currently in your textbook. Since the change, however, you no longer need to know these priorities.
Why the change? (And why now!!?)
While it does appear a little random (and a little abrupt!) the reason behind this change is simply that the WHO themselves have changed their priorities as of 2019. As part of the thirteenth general program of work (GPW13), in place from 2019-2023 – which basically outlines the WHO’s primary focuses and plans – they’ve changed their priorities and focus areas. Since HHD aims to be accurate in relation to real-world issues, particularly in Unit 4, this change is something that’s now being taken on.
What’s the change exactly?
The good news is, you no longer need to know the 6 priority areas mentioned above; they’ve now become just 3! From the GPW13, the 3 new strategic priorities of the WHO are:
- Addressing Health Emergencies
- Promote Healthier Populations
- Achieving Universal Health Coverage (this one is the only one that’s remained the same)
And just to give you a visual representation:
This figure is very important, because there is now an emphasis on their interconnectedness. Quoting VCAA:
‘For example, strengthening health systems also makes them more resilient and better able to detect and control outbreaks before they spread; and improved public health functions contribute to good-quality health care within universal health coverage (UHC) and the strong surveillance systems necessary for early disease detection and control.’
That’s the good news. The more complicated news is that the priorities are now interlinked with SDG 3 and, in much the same way that you would link the other SDGs in the course to SDG3, you now have to be able to do the same for these 3 priority areas. Not so much bad news, but it does just mean that there is a much greater emphasis on SDG 3 than there was already, meaning it has become even more of a focus for your studies for the rest of the year.
What does this mean for me?
As with any subject, the key knowledge and key skills are what need to be focused on to be able to be prepared for your SACs and exam. The VCAA have defined 3 new key skills that I’ll break down a little here. The key knowledge is pretty much the same – ‘priorities and work of the WHO’ still stands, but it’s the priorities themselves that have changed.
Breaking down what you need to know for each of the key skills:
Identify and explain the strategic priorities and work of the WHO
This is pretty simple. To identify the strategic priorities, you simply need to know all 3 of them and simply state them if prompted to identify in a question.
To explain them, you need to understand what they mean and how they work. Just to give you a brief summary of each:
Addressing Health Emergencies – this comes down to two main ideas. Paraphrasing from the GPW13, the two main elements to addressing health emergencies are building resilience in the event of outbreaks to keep the world safe from epidemics and ensuring that people who are affected have access to life-saving services including health promotion and disease prevention.
Promote Healthier Populations – this is centred around 5 main platforms (which also constitute part of the work of the WHO) which are:
- Improving human capital across the life course
- Accelerating action on preventing noncommunicable diseases and promoting mental health
- Accelerating elimination and eradication of high impact communicable diseases
- Tackling antimicrobial resistance
- Addressing health effects of climate change in small island developing states and other vulnerable states.
These have been developed based on current pressing world issues and are the focus of this priority.
Achieving Universal Health Coverage – this is the only priority area that has remained from the old ones. Essentially, universal health coverage involves ensuring that all people worldwide have access to a health service without facing any barriers such as race, gender, financial status etc.
Describe how the work of the WHO contributes to achieving SDG 3
In relation to the actual work of the WHO, this hasn’t really changed much since last year. The work that the WHO provides is essentially the same, however, it’s more the priorities that the work addresses that’s the focus of this change.
The main difference about the work now is that you have to understand how it links to SDG 3.
Some of the different ways include:
- Working on national health policies and plans
- Providing practical, tailored advice
- Monitoring progress in countries
- Conducting research
- Providing leadership and creating partnerships
These are just some of the ways the WHO works, but I would recommend just knowing 2/3 (I know that the first 2 were my go-to) as they really apply to all the priorities and can all be linked to SDG 3. Essentially, if it comes up in a question, you have to be able to explain what it is the WHO does (such as one of the dot points above) that would lead to an achievement of one of the key features of SDG 3.
For example, if the question was, ‘Describe how the work of the WHO contributes to achieving SDG 3’ for 2 marks, your answer would look something like:
‘The WHO works by providing practical, tailored advice to different nations. As a result of this work, countries will have better direction with plans to help them improve issues of national concern, such as the spread of communicable diseases. This means that they are able to progress in a way that is tailored to their cultures and capabilities, potentially reducing the risk of epidemics such as HIV/AIDS.’
Breaking down the marks for this:
‘The WHO works by providing practical, tailored advice to different nations. As a result of this work, countries will have better direction with plans to help them improve issues of national concern, [1 mark for mentioning and describing the work of the WHO] such as the spread of communicable diseases. This means that they are able to progress in a way that is tailored to their cultures and capabilities, potentially reducing the risk of epidemics such as HIV/AIDS. [1 mark for mentioning a key feature of SDG 3 – in this case, HIV/AIDS, which is a part of communicable diseases].‘
Discuss how the WHO priorities are reflected in different scenarios.
This is a skill that you’ve practiced from Unit 3, so this really isn’t something to worry about much. All there is to it is to now be able to identify the new strategic priorities from a case study, and then discuss how they are present, depending on what the question may ask.
So, that’s pretty much all you need to know for this! Hopefully this gave you a bit of an insight into this new change and will help you further in your studies 🙂 If you have any questions about HHD at all, feel free to ask them here!