COST Action CA18218

[Training School] COVID-19 disease burden

Date & Place

30 March to 1 April 2022
Ljubljana, Slovenia

About the course

The COVID-19 Disease Burden Training School provides an introduction to burden of disease assessment, using COVID-19 as a case study. It provides public health professionals, and researchers from related fields, with practical knowledge about summary measures of population health, the historical background of the Global Burden of Disease study and its outputs. Furthermore, the TS introduces the concept and rationale of the main metrics (YLLs, YLDs and DALYs), and underlines their application and importance or priority setting in public health policy and decision-making processes.

The Training School will be organized jointly with the PHIRI project.


The TS will be organized as three modules taking place from 30 March to 1 April 2022. Each module will include theoretical and practical sessions, exercises and follow-up discussions. Each module is planned to take place from 9h30 to 15h00 CET, including a lunch break.

  • Module 1 (Introduction to DALYs and YLLs) introduces summary measures of public health and the basic concept of burden of disease, DALYs and YLLs
  • Module 2 (Introduction to YLDs) focuses on disability weights and the other main YLD inputs: input data, severity distributions, and comorbidity adjustment
  • Module 3 (DALYs: theory to practice) addresses practical issues related to data, assumptions, and uncertainties, and puts a focus on knowledge translation

Eligibility and prerequisites

The TS is open to all burden-eu members. The number of participants will be limited to a maximum of 30. If the number of applications would exceed the maximum number of available seats, candidates will be selected a) to prioritise motivated students and early career investigators, b) to ensure gender and geographical balance (and favouring representatives from Inclusiveness Target Countries), and c) to prioritise highly motivated candidates.

Teaching will be in English. Exercises will require a basic proficiency in MS Excel.

Registrations are closed.


Time (CET)Module 1
Wednesday 30/03
Module 2
Thursday 31/03
Module 3
Friday 01/04
9h00 Welcome & introductions Welcome & wrapup of previous session Welcome & wrapup of previous session
9h30 Introduction to DALYs: historical and technical basis Disability weights: theory and applications From theory to practice: data, assumptions, uncertainties
10h30 Exercise Exercise Exercise
11h30 Discussion Discussion Discussion
11h45 Lunch break Lunch break Lunch break
12h45 Calculating Years of Life Lost Calculating Years Lived with Disability Knowledge translation
13h45 Exercise Exercise Exercise
14h30 Q&A Q&A Q&A
14h30-15h00 Closure of module 1 Closure of module 2 Closure of module 3



Brecht Devleesschauwer
Brecht Devleesschauwer, Sciensano, Belgium

Dr. Brecht Devleesschauwer is a senior epidemiologist at Sciensano (the Belgian institute for health) and visiting professor in Risk Analysis at Ghent University. He conducts policy-driven public health research in the domain of composite measures of population health and health inequalities. As a member of the World Health Organization Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (WHO/FERG), he contributed to the estimation of the global burden of foodborne disease. Currently, he is coordinating the Belgian National Burden of Disease Study, and chairing the European Burden of Disease Network (COST Action CA18218). Brecht holds PhD degrees in Public Health and Veterinary Sciences, and MSc degrees in Biostatistics and Veterinary Medicine.

Juanita Haagsma
Juanita Haagsma, Erasmus MC, the Netherlands

Dr. Juanita Haagsma, PhD in health sciences, works as Assistant Professor at the Department of Public Health at the Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Her research focuses mainly on burden of disease estimates of injury and quantifying long-term consequences of injury in particular. For several years, she worked as Assistant Professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, where she was a member of the injuries team of the Global Burden of Disease study. She was responsible for the development and implementation of methods to calculate the global burden of injury. In addition, she has conducted several studies on disability weights, including a large disability weight study that collected responses from more than 30,000 people from four European countries.

Sara Monteiro Pires
Sara Monteiro Pires, National Food Institute, Denmark

Dr. Sara Pires is a senior scientist at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark. Her main areas of research are the burden and control of foodborne diseases. She has developed and applied methods to assess the burden of food-associated diseases at national and international level, and to provide evidence to guide public health policy for disease prevention. She is the chair of the Working Group on Infectious Diseases of the European Burden of Disease Network.

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