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Unit information: Health and Health Care in a Global 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 and Health Care in a Global Context
Unit code SPOLM1066
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Armstrong
Open unit status Not open




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


This unit will examine current patterns of health and illness in different parts of the world. It will highlight continuing inequalities in morbidity and mortality and explore their links with wider economic and social processes. We will then look at global health governance. This will be followed by an overview of Infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases globally. Next, global policies important in tobacco, mental health, climate change, nutrition and physical activity will be explored in depth. We will then consider various inequalities in health and health care around the world.


  • To provide an overview of the global burden of disease
  • To review current debates about the factors shaping these patterns of morbidity and mortality
  • To examine the models of health care emerging in different economic and social settings and to review global inequalities in access and quality of services
  • To explore possible strategies for promoting healthier public policies.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Understanding of key data on global health
  • Ability to link changing patterns of health and illness to wider processes of global restructuring
  • Understanding of major determinants shaping health care in different parts of the world
  • Capacity for critical reflection on policy options for improving global health

Teaching details

Interactive lectures and seminars of 2 hours.

Assessment Details

A 4,000 word essay in which students should demonstrate a knowledge of health inequalities on a global basis, an awareness of the value of health governance in understanding health and the ability to draw on appropriate theoretical perspectives.

Reading and References

  • Lee K. and Collin J (2005). Global change and health. Open University Press, Maidenhead.
  • Lim S, Fullman N, Murray C et al. (2016). Measuring the health-related Sustainable Development Goals in 188 countries: a baseline analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. The Lancet. 388(10053): 1813-1850
  • D. Leon & G Walt (2001) Poverty and Health: an international perspective. Oxford University Press
  • People's Health Movement (2015) Global Health Watch 4 An Alternative health report. Zed Books, London