Drivers of Change in Global Health


Course Objective

• Acquire knowledge and understanding of important drivers of
change and how they influence health and health care globally
• Be able to apply several data collection and analytic skills,
using tools of demography, anthropology, sociology and epidemiology
• Critically analyze scientific publications, theories, hypotheses
and arguments, and justify and present findings both orally and in

Course Content

"Ours is a period of change - continual, multi-form, and multi-level -
technical, scientific, economic and political." (Dan Smith, 2012)

The starting point of this course is that in every corner of our lives
as individuals, communities and societies, there is change. These
changes affect our health in many ways. We are for example confronted
with new and emerging infectious diseases, an increase in non-
communicable diseases, changing patient demand patterns and rising costs
of health care. Changes in health and disease patterns and changes in
health care are strongly influenced by the state of the world in
terms of climate, demography, economic, politics, culture and
technology. In addition, there is a trend of increasing globalization of
the world, with a diversity of impacts on people in different parts of
the worlds. The patterns and trends described above can be seen as
drivers of change in global health as they bring along new problems and
new opportunities regarding health and healthcare systems.

The course analyzes causality of the process of change and identifies
subsequent responses that mitigate negative effects. We thereby aim to
answer questions like: Can changes in health be attributed to a single
driver or are multiple factors at play? Is the impact of the driver
generic or
does it target local conditions? How can we isolate the effect of the
amidst other factors? Indeed, identifying causality is a first step to
decision makers and design successful policy interventions. Furthermore,
normally do not succumb to damaging effects of changes; instead affected
groups respond with mitigating measures by developing instant coping
mechanisms, for the short term, and adaptation measures that anticipate
future expected shocks, for longer periods. The controversial situation
that short term planning of coping mechanisms undermines long term
sustainable future adaptation measures should, of course, be avoided.

This course consists of a series of lectures which provide insight into
a number of important drivers of change in different parts of the world,
such as urbanization, climate change, migration, technological
development, and how they affect health and health care. Each lecture is
accompanied by reading materials in the form of scientific articles and
complementary background information from the book. Furthermore, the
course consists of an assignment and project groups. For the assignment
you conduct a case study into one specific driver of change in an
assignment group with fellow students. You make use of scientific
publications in different sub-assignments to come up with an evidence-
based call for action with respect to the driver of choice. At the end
of the course you will present your work orally and in the form of a
written report together with your team. In the project group meetings
you work on your academic skills (data collection, reflection, analysis
etc.) through various exercises related to the topic of this course.
During these meetings you also receive feedback on sub-assignments.

Teaching Methods

Lectures: 20 hours
Assignment (project group meetings + independent group work): 75 hours
(12 + 63)
Self study: 62,5
Exam: 2,5 hours

Method of Assessment

Written exam (50%) and group assignment (50%). Both the exam grade and
the total group assignment grade should be 5.5 or higher in order to
the course.

The assignment includes a written report (40%) and a presentation (10%).
The two assignment components (report and presentation) can compensate
for each other if one part is insufficient.


- Course guide
- Assignment manual
- Selected scientific publications (announced on Canvas).
- Recommended: The penguin state of the world atlas, 2012 (ninth
edition). Dan Smith. Penguin Books.

Target Audience

This is a compulsory course in the bachelor minor global health

Additional Information

Guest lecturers will be invited for specific lectures.
Lecture attendance is strongly recommended.
Project group meetings and presentation attendance is compulsory.

General Information

Course Code AB_1108
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. ir. B.G.J.S. Sonneveld
Examiner dr. ir. B.G.J.S. Sonneveld
Teaching Staff dr. ir. B.G.J.S. Sonneveld

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture