MPH Public Health (Web-based Learning) / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Health Systems Challenges in Low and Middle Income Countries

Course unit fact file
Unit code POPH62212
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care
Available as a free choice unit? No


It is envisaged that this unit will be of most interest and relevance to students working in health care in low income countries. It will be most applicable to clinicians, managers, and researchers. It is also relevant to any student interested in global health or planning to travel and or work in low or middle income countries. No pre-existing knowledge is required. Clearly students only planning to work abroad will not have the same experiences to draw on, but this should not affect their ability to take and pass the unit. 

This is an interactive online course. Students are expected to engage in weekly discussion boards with their peers and tutors. 

10% of the total marks for this course will be awarded for assessed group activity. You must participate in these group discussions throughout the course to access these marks. 


This unit is one of three which may be taken as the additional mandatory unit for the Global Health pathway, alongside the mandatory core unit of POPH60041 for all pathways.

The other options are:

  • POPH62311 – Global Health in the 21st Century
  • POPH62411 – Women’s Global Public Health


To gain an understanding of the complexity of health systems and strategies designed to strengthen them.

Learning outcomes

  • To understand the roles and responsibilities of health systems
  • To understand the basic components of any health system
  • To understand the importance of context to health system strengthening
  • To appreciate how other players both within countries and outside interact with health systems.
  • To apply learning about health systems to specific health topics or countries


  • Introduction to health systems
  • Service Delivery; how care is delivered within countries
  • Health workforce
  • Information systems
  • Medical products, vaccines & technologies, including product supply delivery
  • Financing of health systems and Universal Health Coverage.
  • Leadership, governance and regulation
  • Monitoring and evaluation of health systems
  • Health system strengthening 

Teaching and learning methods

The majority of the course material to be covered is provided through the written course unit, links to journal articles, web sites and digital book chapters. Some weeks the students will work on an exercise individually or in a group towards assessed discussion boards. This unit will encourage students to share their experiences and use examples from their own practice or area of interest as a basis for their assignments.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
At Masters level we expect students to be able to apply what they know to other contexts, often their own. In this unit students will have the opportunity of doing this in their final assignment.
Group/team working
Team working is important for all health professionals and especially Public Health specialists. This unit has an assessed on-line group working exercise run over a two week period.

Assessment methods

Assessment task


Weighting within unit

Midterm Assignment

1,500 words


Final Assignment

2,500 words


Assessed Group Task




Feedback methods

Students will be provided with personalised feedback for their mid-term and final summative assignments, within 15 working days for mid-term assignments and 20 working days for final submission. Students will also receive feedback for both assessed discussion board activities. 

Recommended reading


Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Elizabeth Dalgarno Unit coordinator

Additional notes

For further information please watch this video from our former Course Unit Leader.

If you have any questions about the content of this unit, please contact the course unit leader, Elizabeth Dalgarno, via email on If you have any other queries, please contact the PGT programme administrators via email on

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