Governance for Global Health


Course Objective

The student acquires knowledge and insight into:
• The health policy process and its outcomes both at national and
international level
• Different theoretical concepts of, and approaches to governance and
the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policy in the field of
public health
• Actors’ perspectives and participation, including power configurations
inherent in policy making
• The role of scientific knowledge in policy making • Interdisciplinary
research methods in the context of policy
development, implementation and evaluation

The student learns:
• To analyze a concrete complex health problem in a specific
country from an interdisciplinary perspective, using actor analysis and
causal root analysis
• To apply interviewing skills within the framework of health
policy and system analysis
• To use a qualitative data analysis software program
• To formulate policy recommendations on the basis of a policy
• To provide a written report on analyses, findings, and policy
recommendations in the form of a portfolio including policy brief and
background information

Course Content

The course consists of complementary theoretical and research components
that run in parallel. The theoretical component addresses concepts of
policy sciences. Attention is paid to the core concepts of governance,
power relations, interests, public versus private sector, change
and the network society. Issues include the influence of
political structures in the development of national health systems and
health policies, determinants of what issues make it onto policy
agendas, and criteria for converting scientific findings into policy.
The degree to which international organizations, such as the WHO, the
Gates Foundation, the World Bank and other multinationals reciprocally
influence national health policy is discussed. The relationship between
the effectiveness of interventions and implementation at different
levels is analysed as well as the role of ‘public-private partnerships’
in health systems.Practical examples are provided in the lectures to
relate theoretical concepts to daily realities of health systems in
different countries.

In the research component of the course, which runs in parallel to the
lectures students work in interdisciplinary project groups of five or
six students. The groups adopt a project-based approach to conduct a
policy and systems analysis of a specific topic in a specific country.
In the assignment,the specific determinants and the health system of
that country are explicitly included in the analysis. At the same time,
the groups identify and analyse barriers for policy formulation and
implementation. The data gathering involves a literature review,document
analysis, and semi-structured interviews. In order to enhance these
research skills, students receive two workshops on interview techniques.
the start of the second week the groups have to hand in their project
plan. In the next period each group will conduct about 5-6 interviews
(each student will organize, prepare, conduct, transcribe and analyse
one interview). For data analysis students will use a qualitative data
analysis software program, for which they will receive training. Based
the policy analysis each group will write a policy brief including
policy recommendations. The groups will present the policy brief at the
end of the course.

Teaching Methods

Lectures, some flipped classroom sessions (power points are provided and
studied before coming to class), master classes, workshops, work groups,
learning, self-study. The workshops are compulsory.

Method of Assessment

Written exam (50%), assessment of individual interview transcript and
analysis and peer assessment (15%) and assessment of group assignment –
policy analysis and
advice (policy brief and presentation) (35%).


The following book is available in the VU bookstore:
• "Making Health policy: Understanding Public Health", Kent Buse,
Nicholas Mays & Gill Walt, Berkshire: Open University Press, ISBN 0-335-
21839-3 (Second Edition)

Articles used are made available through Canvas.

Target Audience

Students of the research master Global Health

Additional Information

Compulsory course within the research master Global Health

General Information

Course Code AM_1177
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. M.A. Dieleman
Examiner dr. M.A. Dieleman
Teaching Staff dr. M.A. Dieleman
prof. dr. J.E.W. Broerse
M.O. Kok
dr. D.R. Essink

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Study Group, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: