Course syllabus for

Global Health, 7.5 credits

Global Hälsa, 7.5 hp
This course syllabus is valid from spring 2017.
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
Revised by
Education committee PHS
Last revision
Course syllabus valid from
Spring 2017

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 aim of the course is for the students to achieve an understanding of the concept global health, more specifically to understand how the income level of a country affects health status and health indicator as well as critically reflect on differences in health determinants and health systems between and within countries.

After the course the student should be able to:​

  • Describe how health and illness, mortality and morbidity are measured in a population and how they change over time, but also between data sources
  • Analyze the health of a population using health indicators in order to identify an essential health challenge and generate an intervention to improve the identified problem
  • Discuss how economic and social factors as well as environmental factors determine the health and access to health-care services of individuals and a population.
  • 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   
  • Know how different professions collaborate and share tasks in health care in weak health systems with resource scarcity and compare it to high income countries
  • Discuss how the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and human rights can affect health in a population 


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 lower 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. 


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, practical part in a low-income country, 3 hp The student has to pass part 1, to be allowed to participate in part 2.

The theoretical first part gives a background and prepares the student for part 2. For students who cannot for some reason cannot participate in part 2, alternative solutions can be found, for instance to do part 2 together with a later course, or to make a special assignment abroad with an approved supervisor. 

The second part of the course is implemented in cooperation with medical universities in low- and lower middle-income countries. Teachers at these universities are responsible, together with staff of the health care system, for teaching in the different countries. Course content includes (differences between the countries visited occur) lectures, study visits to different parts of the health system, as well as assignments followed by seminars. 

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 and answer through the KI student web system PingPong within a given time. To pass, the students are to attend actively at all seminars, 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 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 or oral exam with a member of faculty.

Transitional provisions

After cancellation or major renewal of the course, examination will be provided at least twice (not counting the original examination) during a time of one year after the date when the change was made.

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