Course syllabus for

Global Health, 7.5 credits

Global Hälsa, 7.5 hp
This course syllabus is valid from spring 2015.
Please note that the course syllabus is available in the following versions:
Course code
Course name
Global Health
7.5 credits
Form of Education
Higher Education, study regulation 2007
Main field of study 
Global Health 
Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements 
Grading scale
Fail (U) or pass (G)
Department of Global Public Health
Decided by
Board of Higher Education
Decision date
Course syllabus valid from
Spring 2015

Specific entry requirements

120 credits in health care or medicine.
To participate in the second part of the course the student must have fulfilled the course requirements for part one.


The main aim of the course is for participating students to understand the term global health, more specifically to critically reflect on how differences in health determinants between and within countries, as well as differences in health systems between low-, middle- and high-income countries affect the level of health and health indicators globally.

Learning outcomes regarding knowledge and understanding are classified according to the SOLO taxonomy (S1-S5).

After the course the student should be able to:

  • Understand and describe variations in health and illness within and between countries and over time (S3)
  • Understand and evaluate how health and disease, mortality and morbidity are measured in a population, and how they change over time, but also between data sources
  • Identify, compile and analyse data on health and health systems of a country (S2-S3)
  • Explain how economic, social and environmental factors determine the health of a population (S4)
  • Describe and explain variations in fertility within and between countries (S3-S4)
  • Describe and compare the variation in the availability and type of care and quality within and between countries over time and compare this to the Swedish health care system (S3-S4)
  • Understand and describe how different professions collaborate and share tasks in healthcare in weak health systems with resource scarcity (S3)
  • Compare and critically evaluate differences in treatment options in low-, middle- and high-income countries for a few selected diseases (such as cervical cancer, HIV, stroke) and make a synthesis of "optimal" guidelines (S5)
  • Know goals and activities of the major international organizations in the health sector (S2)
  • Know the Millennium development goals, how different countries strive to meet them and know the post 2015 agenda (S2)


During the first part of the course the growing amount of information in global health will be discussed. The second part gives the opportunity to experience-based understanding for the conditions for health care in low- and middle-income countries, as well as an understanding for the roles of different professions within a healthcare system that has another structure and another resource level than our own. Meeting health care staff in both urban and rural settings gives new perspectives to the work with health care in weak health care systems with high burden of disease. The mix of learning to understand and interpret global health in theory with the personal experience of another reality abroad is an important incentive to leave old ideas about the world and adopt an evidence-based, modern view of the world. 

To obtain the above mentioned learning outcomes, with level S5 according to the SOLO taxonomy as the highest level, the students will be given an assignment, to focus on a specific given disease/condition during part 1. At a seminar in the end of part 1, the students are to present current treatment guidelines for the disease in the country they are going to, and compare these to the treatment guidelines in Sweden or other country. After critical discussion with a fellow student they are expected to present a synthesis, with the "optimal" treatment guidelines for the disease they have been following during the course.

Global Health, theoretical part, 4.5 hp The first part of the course is offered at the university in Sweden. Lectures and literature will cover:

Health indicators and health determinants
  • Demographic indicators and basic concepts about population issues
  • Economic theories of development and an overview of the current economic trends in the world
  • Priorities for prevention and treatment of the most important global health problems
  • Staffing and resource shortages in the health sector and how it affects health care capacity and quality in weak health system
  • Variations in sexual and reproductive health worldwide
  • Health and pharmaceutical policies, and the organization and financing of health care in different countries
  • International and humanitarian organizations' work
  • Swedish aid policy
  • The increase of non-communicable diseases when countries grow richer
  • An overview of the most common infectious diseases globally
  • Child health and nutrition
  • Actions in catastrophies
  • Human rights in a health perspective
  • The work of international and humanitarian organisations
Global Health, practice in low-income country, 3 hp The second part of the course is implemented in cooperation with medical universities in low- and middle-income countries. Teachers at these universities are responsible, together with staff of the health care system, for teaching in the different countries. Accompanying teachers from KI contribute to the learning process. Tuition includes (differences between the countries visited occur):
  • Lectures on the development of national health care and changes in health policy and health status
  • Ability to understand people's living conditions by visiting families with primary care staff
  • Visit in primary care, to primary schools and practitioners of traditional medicine
  • Visits to providers of maternity and child health care
  • Clinical teaching in hospitals about the current disease panorama focusing on various diagnostic and treatment options at different levels of care
  • Study visits within both public and private health institutions, including primary care, district and university hospitals
  • Interviews with patients about how to reach health care, obstacles to reach health care, and the costs of the care they received and their ability to pay for health care

Teaching methods

Lectures by faculty, including many different professions with extensive international experience. Individual and group studies on health development and specific health problems in the country the student will be going to, in relation to both regional and global development. Individual work with statistical data using computer programs, web-based information and discussions with resource persons at KI in seminars.


The assessment of the students for part 1 is based on "Daily questions", where students are to analyse and discuss an issue related to the lectures given that same day. In total there are ca 10 questions (one per course day) that students are to answer through the KI student web system PingPong within a given time (normally 48 hours). To pass, the students are to attend actively at all seminars (usually 2), given during the course at KI. If a student fails to pass the Daily questions there will be a written re-examination. If a student fails to pass a seminar there will be a written assignment on the same theme, or an individual oral exam with a member of faculty.

The assessment of the students for part 2 is based on active participation of the students during the study visits and 1-2 seminars, organised in collaboration with the partner university responsible for the two course weeks abroad. If a student fails a seminar it is to be compensated for with written hand-in task.

Other directives

The course is evaluated in accordance with the guidelines established by the Board of Education
The official language of the course is English, but if all attending are speaking Swedish, Swedish may be used.

Literature and other teaching aids

Mandatory course literature

Global Health : An Introductory textbook Lindstrand, Ann; Bergström, Staffan; Rosling, Hans; Rubenson, Birgitta; Stenson, Bo

Recommended literature

Gives a good overview of the status of Global health today and onwards

Jamison et al. Global health 2035: a world converging within a generation 382 (2013) s. 1898-1955