Global Health Governance

This course introduces students to major aspects of global health governance from the perspective of a political scientist.

To give some context, the course begins with some historic background on disease epidemics, the plague, a cholera outbreak in the UK, and the flu epidemic of the early 20th century. We will then talk about the origins of public health as a responsibility of the nation-state and the evolution of a wider sense of concern for global health. We then introduce essential concepts related to collective action and public goods and discuss the selective attention to health issues. 

The course surveys the landscape of major organizations that deal with global health including international organizations like the World Health Organization and the World Bank, public-private partnerships such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, and by private sector actors like the Gates Foundation, the Rotary Club, and the Carter Center. Before the mid-term, we survey the current state of health attainment in the world.

After the mid-term, we review historic attempts to deal with transnational health problems in the aftermath of World War II, including the successful eradication of smallpox, near success eradicating polio, partial efforts to address the global AIDS pandemic, halting efforts to address malaria, and the emergence of new threats such as Ebola. The course will also explore the emergent issues associated with non-communicable diseases such as some types of cancer, diabetes, and illnesses associated with smoking and obesity. We will also look at related issues of basic health care, including maternal and infant mortality as well as nutrition. We conclude with the challenges to strengthening public health systems and disease prevention and discuss the future of global public health.

The goals are to (1) familiarize you with the key debates and issues (past, present, and future) in global health governance, (2) provide you with a set of analytical tools to understand the scope for progress in this arena, (3) develop your sense of the landscape of organizations and information in this space, and (4) spur your creative engagement with global health issues in your subsequent professional career.