Introduction to Global Health

The details
Health and Social Care (School of)
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
16 May 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC L439JS Global Public Health

Module description

The global health priorities established in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have helped bring the importance of global health governance to the fore of global health scholarship. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on global public health governance, exposing the systemic weaknesses in the global health architecture and demonstrating how power and resource imbalances impact on global health policy, global health equity and population health.

The global health landscape is shaped by centuries old interactions and structures. The past few decades have brought dramatic change shaped by cross-border flows of capital, ideas, technology intermediated through the complex interaction between global, national and local actors and institutions. This module provides an introduction to the fundamentals of global public health governance by focusing on health-related issues that transcend national boundaries and the differential impacts of globalization on health. It introduces essential concepts from the social sciences, including political science, sociology and law. It includes critical scholarship on interactions between global and local actors to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for critically exploring key questions including who governs global health, which states, institutions and other entities finances global health, who sets priorities for global health and who is accountable for delivering on global health commitments. It provides an introduction to understanding the diverse social, economic and political forces which shape how and why some important health related challenges are addressed through global health policies, including the SDGs, and others are not.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To provide students with the knowledge and tools to understand and assess the impact of globalisation on population health, and its implications for health policy and governance.

  • To introduce students to the role of key actors and institutions.

  • To introduce key concepts and frameworks such as governance, health systems, intersectionality and law.

  • To teach students how to employ these analytical concepts and frameworks to critically examine cross cutting themes including the climate emergency, health workforce, international trade, financing and international cooperation.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Identify and describe the role of the key actors and institutions engaged in global health governance and how the global health landscape has changed over time.

  2. Critically assess the influence of key global health actors and institutions on global health policy and commitments including the Sustainable Development Goals.

  3. Appreciate and critically assess current global health challenges and the social, economic and political factors that influence these.

  4. Critically assess the role of power in global political and economic dynamics and analyse how it shapes global health governance and policy priorities.

Module information

Indicative syllabus content:

  • Globalisation

  • Governance

  • Health policies and priorities – from global to local

Exploring key issues/challenges in global health:

  • Universal Health Care & Health systems strengthening

  • Migration, climate emergency & global health

  • International trade, investment and global health

  • Financing global health

  • International cooperation - Global health security and human rights

  • Reforming & Gendering global health

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Lectures combined with interactive activities.

The sessions in this introductory course with combine traditional lectures (approx. 50 minutes) followed by an interactive activity that has students engage in a debate/discussion about a contemporary issue employing the concepts and frameworks introduced in the different sessions.

For example, in the session on migration, climate emergency and health the students will be provided with the universal health coverage (UHC) policy of a given country prior to the session. After the lecture they will be divided into two groups to prepare and debate the adequacy of the UHC plan to address migrants health; one arguing that the UHC plan is in line with the SDG pledge to leave no one behind and the other which contends that it leaves out undocumented people. The session on international trade and investment will involve an interactive session exploring the extent to which international trade agreements protect or undermine national sovereignty over health-related decisions. Students will engage in a role playing exercise that highlights how international trade agreements have led to shifts in traditional global health hierarchies.

The module content, designs, delivery and evaluation methods are guided by intersectionality informed EID framework that advance the School's inclusion and diversity objectives. The themes, analytical framework and reading material align with key University agendas linked to the decolonising the curriculum movement and the commitment to increasing inclusion, tackling racism and other structural forms of discrimination. This module introduces students to both tools and knowledge that will lay a foundation for engaging with intersectionality as an approach to analysing and addressing issues of inclusion and diversity.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   2000 word essay    75% 
Practical   Group work: discussion and presentation in class    25% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Sarita Panday, email: s.panday@essex.ac.uk.
GPH Student administrator: Jakub Kulesza Email: gph@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Kate Parkinson
University of Salford
Subject Leader, Health and Social Care
Dr Masoud Mohammadnezhad
University of Bradford
Associate Professor of Public Health
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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