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Postgraduate course

Equity and fairness in health - an applied approach

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Teaching semester

Spring (january)

Objectives and Content

Objectives: The participants will learn how to evaluate equity in access to health services and fairness in distributions of health outcomes, and to integrate tools for equity concerns and health maximization.

The course is divided into two parts:

Part 1: Will cover theoretical concepts of equity and fairness as well as health maximization, and how they are applied in global and national health care priority setting.

Part 2: Will cover hands-on exercises in equity analysis, starting with assignments in excel, moving to ADEPT (Software platform for equity analysis developed by the World Bank), and Stata with DASP (Distributive Analysis Stata Package).

The first two days are largely theoretical, and consists of a mixture of lectures and group work/discussions on the main topics described above. Students are required to participate in group work on assigned topics. This includes daily student active teaching exercises, with alternating group compositions and presentation of results for the class.

The remaining days are combinations of theory and practice, and students will work through exercises on their own laptops on a ┬┐learning by doing┬┐ principle. Each day will be organized around a number of assignments that must be completed individually. The softwares Microsoft Excel, ADEPT, and Stata will be used throughout the module.

Learning Outcomes


The student

1. is able to explain and justify distribution of scarce resources according to utilitarian, egalitarian and prioritarian principles, and how they apply to health

2. is able to describe milestones in global health priority setting, as articulated in the Alma Ata declaration, MDGs and SDGs.

3. knows key global policy responses to health challenges in WHO, UK, Norway, Thailand, Mexico, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

4. understands the difference between data on average population coverage for a health service, and data on distribution of coverage disaggregated according to key determinants

5. understands basic idea of decision theory and economic evaluations

6. understands principles and key concept in distributional cost-effectiveness analysis

7. understands the role of severity of disease and its relation to cost-effectiveness


The student

1. can explore and describe DHS data and present standard descriptive statistics on level and distribution

2. knows how to analyze DHS data using Stata and DASP to estimate inequity in coverage using common inequality measures such as concentration index and Gini and to present results graphically using concentration curves

3. knows how to build a decision tree and a simple model in excel for economic evaluation

4. knows how to incorporate socioeconomic inequality and severity of disease in economic models

General competence:

The student

1. is aware that trade-offs in health care priority setting are value based, and able to evaluate and critically analyze health interventions according to efficiency as well as distributive concerns

Required Previous Knowledge

Basic skills in Excel software. Good working knowledge of English (TOEFL score of at least 550 points paper-based or 213 points computer-based, or an equivalent approved test). Economists, other social scientists, medical doctors, ethicists, psychologists, nurses, dentists and others with training at the bachelor level or higher in a relevant subject at a recognized institution can be admitted to the MSc level course.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Basic skills in Stata software. Basic understanding of theories of distributive justice.

Access to the Course

Medical students and students at the Master programmes at UiB will be given priority, as will students from other institutions when they are part of programmes where UiB has formalized educational cooperation.

Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

Lectures, reading, active participation in discussions and group work, hands on analyses on computers, plenary presentations and discussion. Participants need to bring own laptop with all required software preinstalled (available through site-license for UiB students).

Number of students:

Minimum 8

Maximum 15 (8 places reserved for medical students)

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

There are three mandatory assignments, with a combination of individual work and group work. In addition, group work in class will be graded, which requires attendance.

Forms of Assessment

Students will be graded based on their performance of the three mandatory assignments (25% each), and participation in class (25%).

Grading Scale

Pass/ Fail.

Course Evaluation

After first time, and then every third year.


Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care: studie@igs.uib.no

Exam information