Skip to main content

Unit information: Health Policy in an International Context in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Health Policy in an International Context
Unit code SPOL31020
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Dodds
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit begins by exploring various measures of health in an international context and considering the limitations of such measures. We briefly explore global patterns in life expectancy, mortality and morbidity, and key factors involved in the distribution of health. The focus is on differences between and within countries using various demographic and socio-economic measures. The main part of the unit examines the relationship between health and illness and health policy. We explore diversity in health systems, the ways in which health policy is shaped by social, economic and political influences, the impact of globalisation on health and the ways in which global restructuring has affected health policy. We look at the role of international organisations in global health governance and the impact of trans-national companies on health. The unit will conclude with an examination of the policy options for reducing inequalities in global health.

Intended learning outcomes

Students are expected to develop an understanding of:

  • the meaning of global health policy and the various ways in which health services are delivered around the world
  • the meaning of global health governance and the role of various global organisations in shaping health experience
  • the relationship between changing patterns of health and illness and wider processes of global restructuring
  • the major determinants shaping health care in different parts of the world
  • different theoretical perspectives in discussion and critique of global health and global health governance

Teaching details

Lectures and seminars.

Assessment Details

Essay outline (500 words) (25%)

Essay (2500 words) (75%)

Reading and References

  • Haynes, L. Legge,D. et al. (2013) Will the struggle for health equity and social justice be best served by a Framework Convention on Global Health? Health and Human Rights 15, 1, 111-116
  • Kent B, Hein, W and Drager, N. (eds) (2009) Making sense of global health governance : a policy perspective Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Kruk ME. (2012) Globalisation and global health governance: Implications for public health. Global Public Health 7: S54-S62.
  • Dodgson, R., Lee, K & Drager, N. (2002) Global Health Governance: A conceptual review. Centre on Global Change and Health, LSHTM & WHO