Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Global health - challenges and responses

Main content

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Place of Instruction

Centre for International Health, University of Bergen

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 diseases related 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

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student is able to:

  • Discuss the relevance of SDG 3 to the major health challenges in your country and its importance for national priority setting
  • Discuss the relevance of other SDGs for the attainment of SDG 3.
  • Describe major historical trends in health in relation to societal and population development in a global perspective
  • Describe and explain the distribution of communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, injuries and sexual and reproductive health problems in different geographic and socio-economic contexts
  • Discuss key health interventions and their impact on disease prevention and control
  • Discuss the social determinants of health and health seeking
  • -Explain basic concepts in the analysis of culture and health
  • Explain the basic concepts of health economics
  • - Discuss key concepts in the analysis of health systems


The student is able to:

  • Analyze global health challenges using key concepts and theories
  • Assess the health situation of populations, using common health indicators
  • Analyze socio-cultural, economic, political and environmental determinants of population health, health care provision and service utilization
  • Apply health economic evaluation in the planning of health intervention
  • Demonstrate how health policies and priority setting impact health systems and health care delivery
  • Analyse and compare health systems from the community to the policy level
  • Assess the role of health systems management and leadership in attaining the goals of the health system
  • Use theore tical frameworks to analyse health behaviour, behavioural change and health promotion

General competence

The student is able to:

  • Reflect on global health challenges and interventions from different socio-cultural, environmental, economic and political perspectives
  • Compare the importance of different health indicators
  • Reflect and argue for own stance on equity and sustainable development

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 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 attendance at seminars and workshops, individual- and group assignments.


Individual and group assignments to be presented in class or submitted on Mitt UiB.

The assignments will be given feedback through peer-review; group-presentations and discussions, and/or teacher┬┐s comments.

Forms of Assessment

Portfolio assessment, composed of:

  1. Assignment 1 (20%)
  2. Assignment 2 (20%)
  3. Written exam (4 hours) (60%)

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

Examination Support Material


Grading Scale

ECTS A-F (F = fail)

Assessment Semester


Reading List

The reading list will be made available by 1 June 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.


Centre for International Health

E-mail: studie@igs.uib.no

Tel: 55 58 85 69

Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: Portfolio assesment

    Withdrawal deadline
    • Exam part: Written examination

      14.10.2022, 09:00
      4 hours
      Examination system
      Digital exam
    • Exam part: Assignment

      Submission deadline
      10.10.2022, 09:00
      Examination system
      Digital exam
    • Exam part: Assignment 1