SA4K1      Half Unit
Global Health Policy: Institutions, Actors and Politics

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Elias Mossialos


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Global Health. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

Globalization has not only impacted on the nature of emerging global health but the policy responses to these challenges. This module critically examines the transnational institutions and actors involved in global health policy and the interplay between them. The governance of global health issues has traditionally been carried out by various United Nations agencies (namely, the World Health Organisation), but given the transboundary nature of many global health issues (e.g., AIDS, SARS), a diverse range of actors, including the private sector, civil society organizations and national governments, are now integrally involved. The funding of global health programmes and policies, for example, has shifted from primarily bi-/multilateral donors to include private and public sectors and philanthropists. Alongside these changes 'Global Health Initiatives' (e.g. GFATM: Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria) have been developed and implemented to unify these diverse actors and funding streams. The module will use a number of case studies to examine the organisation and role of global health institutions, the challenges and opportunities presented by these governance arrangements, and their (intended and unintended) impacts on global health policy and practice. In doing so, the module will draw on contributions from a range of social sciences including sociology, political science and health services research.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT. 3 hours of help sessions in the ST.

Ten one hour lectures and five two hour seminars, plus a three-hour revision seminar in the ST.

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay examining one of the approaches to framing global health (i.e. a security issue, a development issue, a feminist issue, etc.)

Indicative reading

Balabanova et al. (2010) What can global health institutions do to strengthen health systems in low-income countries. Health Research Policy and Systems;8:22.

Moon S et al. (2010) The Global Health System: lessons for a stronger institutional framework. PLoS Med 7(1):e1000193.doi.10.1371/journal.pmed.1000193

Szelak NA et al. (2010) The global health system: actors, norms and expectations in transition. PLoS Med 7(1): e1000183.doi.10.1371.journal.pmed.10000183

Health Policy in a Globalising World, K. Lee, K. Buse and S. Fustukian (eds),

Making Sense of Global Health Governance: A Policy Perspective, K. Buse, W. Hein, and N. Drager (eds), 2009

Innovations in Global Health Governance, A.F. Cooper and J.Kirton (eds), 2009

The Politics of Global Health Governance, M.W Zacher and T.J. Keefe, 2008

Globalisation and Health: Pathways, Evidence and Policy, R Labonte, T Schrecker, C Packer, V Runnels (eds) (London: Routledge), 2009


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills