Course 2022-2023 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
CLEAM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered online

Suggested background knowledge

We assume knowledge of statistics at a basic level.

Mission & Content Summary


Introduction to global health.



Part I. Introduction to Global Health Topics. The first two sessions introduce the main debates in global health: the global burden of disease project, Primary versus Selective Health Care, horizontal versus vertical health systems, Universal Health Coverage, DALYs, and the theory of epidemiological transition. Lecture 1. Course Overview and Topic Selection. 

Lecture 2. Introduction to Global Health. 

Lecture 3. The Global Burden of Disease. 

The next six sessions evaluate in more specific detail the history, epidemiology, and economics of leading sources of death and disability worldwide. 

Lecture 4. Sick Societies: Population Risks of Chronic Noncommunicable Diseases. 

Lecture 5. HIV Epidemic.

Lecture 6. Tuberculosis – disease of poverty and inequality.

Lecture 7. Mental Health – a neglected epidemic? 

Lecture 8. Obesity. 

Lecture 9. Big Tobacco. 

Part II. The next section of the course focuses on better understanding the wider causes of ill health and potential modifying factors. It covers different methods for measuring and mapping the scale of health inequalities across countries and over time. It also reviews the ongoing debates about whether inequality is a causative factor in health outcomes. This component of the course reviews evidence on the impacts of financial crises on health, from the Great Depression through to the recent economic downturns in Europe and North America, as well as implications for health of radical populism and fascist political movements. Finally it evaluates the roles of health and social security systems in responding to these health determinants. 

Lecture 10. Social determinants of health and health inequalities. 

Lecture 11. Cultural determinants of Health. 

Lecture 12. Income Inequality and Health: a causal link? 

Lecture 13. Financial crises and Health. 

Lecture 14. Political determinants of health; The Rise of the Fascism and the Nazi Party. 

Lecture 15. Universal Health Coverage and Social Protection.

 Lecture 16. Flu + mass epidemics.

 Lecture 17. Case Study: Health in the context of the US New Deal.

Part III: Mapping key players and actors in global health. This part of the course will evaluate the political economy of global health. It will assess who holds power, covering the role of the World Health Organization, Private Philanthropic Foundations and other non-state actors, International Financial Institutions, and Multi-National Corporations. It will review debates on alternative forms of redistribution, from charity to aid to lending programmes. Finally this section will evaluate the histories of engaging with commercial determinants of health and alternative regulatory systems. 

Lecture 18. The Role of the WHO. 

Lecture 19. The Philanthropists. 

Lecture 20. Structural Adjustment Programs, the IMF and World Bank. 

Lecture 21. Aid debates. 

Lecture 22. Corporate Influence – Pharmaceutical Industry. 

Lecture 23. Corporate Influence – Big Food.

Lecture 24. GMOs and Agribusiness + Gender.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Understand core concepts, issues, and debates in global health.
  • Identify research questions and designs on global health topics.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Apply social and political science perspectives to the analysis of health problems.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)


Guest speakers invited to accompany and contribute to the group discussion.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)


  • Exam: 60% There is one general written exam counting for 60% of the overall grade.  
  • Presentation: 20% The presentation covers 30-40 minutes outlining the readings. It is conducted by students either alone or in a group of two. This is worth 20% of the overall grade. 
  • Project 20% The project is an applied research project which may be conducted by students working alone or also in a group of up to two persons. This project is also worth 20% of your grade. 


General written exam.

Teaching materials


  • Lecture slides posted after each lecture on Bboard. 
  • A complete list of readings are provided in the syllabus.
Last change 28/02/2023 14:16