DV458      Half Unit
Key issues in Global Health and Development

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Tiziana Leone CON 8.11 and Dr Philipa Mladovsky CON 6.13


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Health and International Development. This course is available on the MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Gender, MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in Political Economy of Late Development and MSc in Social Research Methods. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Places will be allocated with priority to ID and joint-degree students.  If there are more ID and joint-degree students than DV458 can accommodate, these places will be allocated randomly.  Non-ID/Joint Degree students will be allocated to spare places by random selection with the preference given first to those degrees where the regulations permit this option

Course content

The course provides an up-to-date and comprehensive introduction to global health and health system trends in less developed societies. The course examines the main determinants of health issues as they relate to development and their principal consequences, policies and politics to improve health and development; barriers to implementing those policies; and ways of overcoming those barriers. Key topics include the politics of diseases, framing the health discourse, universal health coverage, the impacts of conflict and climate change on health, pharmaceutical governance and global health metrics. Drawing on disciplines such as political science, health policy, demography, sociology and economics, this course argues for the need to improve global health equity in order to contribute to development. It will equip students with the skills needed to work in and help to improve mainstream global health organisations such as WHO, the World Bank, Gates Foundation and MSF among others. The course is political in that it adopts a set of normative values such as equality, social justice and human rights.


20 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to prepare a seminar presentation and complete a mock exam during MT.

Indicative reading

The course is supported by an electronic reading list. There is no single key text but here are some indicative readings:  

• Birn, A. et al, 2017 “Textbook on global health”

• Marmot, M., 2005 “The social determinants of health”

• Shiffman, 2009, “The rise and fall of global health”

• Adams, V. 2016, “Metrics: what counts in global health”

• Marie Paule Kieny, Henk Bekedam, Delanyo Dovlo, James Fitzgerald 2017 “Strengthening health systems for universal health coverage and sustainable development”

• Watts et al 2018 “Countdown on health and climate change: from 25 years of inaction to a global transformation for public health


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

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2019/20: 56

Average class size 2019/20: 11

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication