Global health - challenges and responses

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


The objective of the course is to equip the students with concepts and perspectives for the analysis of global health challenges and responses in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. This course aims for an understanding of the determinants of health, and health systems anchored in specific political, socio-economic, cultural and epidemiological settings.


The course is grounded in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework, placing at the centre SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. The course is organized around three themes: The global burden of disease; the direct and indirect causes of the disease pattern; and the global and national responses to control and prevent disease and promote health. It prioritizes health challenges that are poverty related and pays particular attention to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health including nutrition; and infectious diseases such as HIV, TB and Malaria. It also includes perspectives on the emerging epidemics of non-communicable diseasesrelated to life style and environmental- and social change. The course dwells upon the political, socio-economic, commercial and cultural determinants of health, health seeking and care provision, and discusses health policy and governance on global and national levels with particular focus on health systems, health systems functioning and funding mechanisms.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge: After the course the student is able to:

  1. Describe major historical trends in health and health care development in a global perspective
  2. Illustrate the health situation of populations, using common health indicators
  3. Discuss the relevance of SDG 3 to the major health challenges globally and the relevance of other SDGs for the attainment of SDG 3
  4. Describe the major communicable- and non-communicable diseases, injuries and reproductive health challenges globally, and compare their distribution in different socio-economic contexts
  5. Discuss key health interventions and their impact on disease prevention and control
  6. Discuss how the social and cultural determinants of health impact health and health seeking
  7. Explain the basic concepts of health economics
  8. Discuss responsiveness and social and financial risk protection in a health systems perspective
  9. Explain how health policies and priority setting impact health systems and health care delivery

Skills: After the course the student is able to:

  1. Plan and justify how you prioritize scarce resources in setting up a health system in a LIC
  2. Use a health system perspective to analyze health care utilization

General competence: After the course the student is able to:

  1. Collaborate and contribute in groups across disciplines, present own work confidently and comment on peer¿s work

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Centre for International Health, University of Bergen
Required Previous Knowledge
Proficiency in English at a level corresponding to TOEFL 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based) or IELTS band 6.0 is expected.
Access to the Course
Students enrolled in the master programme in Global Health, students enrolled in similar programmes at UiB or other partner universities.
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching activities are lectures, seminars, group work, individual and group exercises, health resource allocation game with reflections.
Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

Teaching methods:

A combination of readings, lectures, seminars, discussions, group work, home assignments.

Extent of organised teaching:

Student investment time: 320

120 contact hours

36 hours group work

164 hours individual work / readings

Wednesday: Individual study and group work

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Attendance at seminars and group work. Participation in group work, presentation of group assignment and submission of individual assignment.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Compulsory activity: All group assignments. Seminars and workshops

The group assignments are to be presented in class or submitted on Mitt UiB. Feedback will be given through peer-review, presentations and discussions, and/or teacher¿s comments.

Forms of Assessment

Final assessment of students is done by exam (75 %) and by essay writing (25%). 

Students who receive the grade "F" are allowed to re-sit according to standard procedures at the University of Bergen.

During the course the students are assessed in their presentations,  participation in discussions, and their participation and contribution in group works.

Grading Scale
ECTS A-F (F = fail)
Assessment Semester
Reading List
The reading list will be made available by 1 July on Mitt UiB.
Course Evaluation
Students evaluate the teaching according to the quality assessment requirements of the University of Bergen. The evaluation method is through an online electronic form.
Examination Support Material
English English dictionary