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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Policy

Undergraduate Course: Health Systems: Strengthening and Reform (SCPL10030)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines health systems strengthening and reform initiatives in developed and developing countries, providing the knowledge and skills required to evaluate health sector policies with respect to their consequences for system goals such as equity, efficiency and quality.
Course description Academic description:

This course aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to evaluate critically health system strengthening and reform efforts in any region of the world ¿ across developed and developing countries - with respect to the consequences for social objectives.

By the end of the course, each student is expected to have:

- a critical understanding of the recent history of reform, in particular the role of the World Bank and IMF in processes of fiscal consolidation and structural adjustment;

- an ability to evaluate critically the ability of public sector health agencies to provide universal health coverage - financial protection and equitable access to health care;

- an ability to evaluate critically the impact of global health actors on the capacity of health systems to address public health need and address health inequalities; and

- a critical understanding of the role of the private sector in the healthcare sector, e.g. via contracts with state purchasers and through public-private partnerships.

Outline content:

The course is organised around 10 sessions covering three broad areas of health systems policy debate: the role of international actors; approaches to achieving equity in health systems; and managing markets for health-related products and services.

Student learning experience:

The course is taught by a combination of lectures, seminars and online discussion fora. In general, each topic is introduced via one 50 minute lecture and is then explored in greater depth in seminars or online. Students are expected to complete essential readings before attending seminars or posting their contributions to the discussion fora, and have the opportunity to receive formative feedback on their contributions throughout the course period.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Social Policy or closely related courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment will be based on two components:

1) Input to online discussion fora. Students to submit a portfolio of contributions to course discussions, comprising three short written reflections on readings and three examples of engagement in online discussions (30%)

2) Written essay of 2,500 words (70%).
Feedback Feedback on the discussion forum contributions that make up the portfolio component of the assessment will occur throughout the course period. In addition, verbal feedback is provided during the seminars. These sessions include the opportunity for students to seek guidance and feedback on their planned approach to the assessed essay.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand recent history of reform, in particular the role of the World Bank and IMF in processes of fiscal consolidation and structural adjustment.
  2. evaluate the ability of user fee-reduction and/or elimination programmes to provide financial protection and equitable access to health care and to evaluate critically the impact of Global Health Initiatives on the capacity of health systems to address public health need and address health inequalities.
  3. understand the role of innovative financing mechanisms in addressing disease burdens, and the impact of such mechanisms on wider strengthening efforts.
  4. evaluate reforms in high- and middle-income economies without universal health systems to expand financial protection and improve access.
  5. understand the role of the private sector in the delivery of health care services, via contracts with state purchasers and through public-private partnerships.
Reading List
Key texts:
- Saltman et al (Eds) (1998), Critical challenges for health care reform in Europe. Buckingham: Oxford University Press.
- Yip and Hsiao (2009), "China's health care reform: A tentative assessment", China Economic Review, Vol. 20, pp. 613-619.
- Macinko J, Guanais FC, de Fátima M, de Souza M. (2006), "Evaluation of the impact of the Family Health Program on infant mortality in Brazil, 1990-2002" Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Vol.60, pp. 13-19.
- Cutler (2002), "Equality, efficiency, and market fundamentals: the dynamics of international medical care reform". Journal of Economic Literature; 40: 881-906.
- Stuckler, Basu and McKee (2011). "The International Monetary Fund and Aid Displacement", International Journal of Health Services, 41 (1), 67-76.
- Nabyonga Orem et al (2012), "Abolition of user fees: the Uganda paradox", Health Policy and Planning, 26:ii41-ii51.
- Yates R. (2009), "Universal health care and the removal of user fees". Lancet, Vol. 373: pp. 2078-2081.
- Biesma R, Brugha R, Harmer A, Walsh A, Spicer N, Walt G (2009), "The Effects of Global HIV/AIDS Initiatives on Country Health Systems: A Review of the Evidence", Health Policy and Planning, 24(4) 239-252.
- Hanson et al (2008), "Is private health care the answer to the health problems of the world's poor?" PLoS Medicine, Vol.5 (11), pp. 1528-1532.
- Basu et al (2012), "Comparative performance of Private and Public Healthcare Systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: a Systematic Review", PLoS Medicine, Vol.9 (6), online.
- Hollingsworth (2008), "The measurement of efficiency and productivity of health care delivery". Health Economics, Vol. 17: pp. 1107-1128.
- Sehkri, N., Feacham, R. and Ni, A. (2011). "Public-private integrated partnerships demonstrate the potential to improve health-care access, quality, and efficiency", Health Affairs, 30(8): 1498-1507.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Emily Adrion
Tel: (0131 6)51 3871
Course secretaryMiss Jennifer Yuille
Tel: (0131 6)51 3162
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