Global Health

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


The course aims to provide an understanding of major global health challenges with theoretical and practical training at the University of Bergen (UiB) and collaborating institutions in low- income countries.


The course consists of three parts:

  1. Theory and group work (6 weeks) at Centre for International health.
  2. Field visit (8 weeks): Observation/participating in health care in a low income country.
  3. Exam period.

The first part covers a broad range of aspects concerning global health. Focus will be on major global health challenges. The course will outline the interaction between health and poverty and between health and social, political, economical and cultural factors. Major themes are Public health; Major diseases and disabilities; Global health and ethics; Anthropology, economics and health systems. Attendance in lectures and group work is compulsory.

The second part of the course is observation and involvement in hospitals and community health care settings in low- or middle-income country.

The third part of the course is writing an essay on an aspect in global health; two students may collaborate on one topic. The essay is presented in plenary and discussed at the end of the semester.

Course information website:

Learning Outcomes


After the course students are able to

  • Explain differences and similarities between low-, mid-, and high-income countries regarding health and demographic development
  • Describe the human rights perspective for improving global health
  • Describe important global diseases and epidemics
  • Outline financial obstacles related to global health
  • Discuss priority setting in low-resource settings
  • Know the difficulties of diagnostics in LIC
  • Describe disease panoramas in low-income countries
  • Describe challenges in the health service in low-income countries
  • Understand why interventions in low-income countries do not always succeed


After the course students are able to:

  • Discuss how some important diseases affect development in the society.
  • Discuss how various interventions can improve public health
  • Assess organizational problems in the health systems of low-income countries
  • Discuss ethical issues related to international health
  • Master diagnostics with limited diagnostic tools
  • Adapt diagnostics of disease to available resources
  • Clinically recognize some common diseases at health institutions in low-income countries

General competence:

After the course students are able to:

  • Have a global perspective on being a health worker
  • Understand the consequences of globalization for medical sciences
  • Respect the challenging conditions of colleagues in LIC
  • Cooperate with colleagues in low-income countries

Level of Study

Bachelor (100)

Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Theory and exam: Faculty of Medicine

Field visit mainly to institutions that have agreements with CIH.

Examles are:

- Makerere University, Kampala i Uganda ;

- Haydom Lutheran Hospital, Tanzania;

- Mzuzu Regional Hospital, Malawi;

- Ruhuna University, Galle, SriLanka

Required Previous Knowledge
Students who have finished at least two years of medical school or equivalent.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Clinical examination technique
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course

Medical and psychology students who completed 3 (med.) or 2 (psych.) years, and have elective semester can apply. Students with similar backgrounds can also apply.

Students in the Medical Student Research Program may apply, but will have to demonstrate that the course is relevant for their research project and must have a recommendation from their supervisor.

The number of students selected depends on the number of vacant spaces in the field sites. If there are more applicants than can be accommodated, there will be drawing lots

Teaching and learning methods

Theory: Plenary lectures, seminars, group exercises, discussion of films.

On field visit: practical training, observation of health care in low-income settings.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Lectures and group work.
Forms of Assessment
The student writes an essay and presents and discusses it in plenar.
Grading Scale
Reading List


Skolnik: Global health 101 3rd ed.

Course Evaluation
Evaluation on the last day of the course.