MSc Global Development (Politics, Governance and Development Policy) / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Global Health Inequalities

Course unit fact file
Unit code MGDI60542
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
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Global development as an expansion of freedoms to be and do what one has reason to value has been inextricably linked with achieving long life in good health. Health, education and social participation are worthwhile ends and not merely means to achieve other goals. This widening global recognition of the constitutive role of health in development puts into sharp relief the contours of global inequalities in health. Health inequalities are global, resisting neat ordering into North and South. The global commission on health and economic growth as well as the global commission on social determinants of health (likewise similar commissions at national levels such as the Marmot Review 2010 in the UK) have carefully documented the various inequalities including social and spatial that are denying people a good life, productive and fruitful. Even the International Monetary Fund, through its chief’s blog (7 January 2020) and the Fund’s guidance on making loans (since 2015), now accounts for social and spatial inequalities and the fiscal implications of longer and healthier lives around the world.

This course explores issues of global health inequalities, their constructs, in developed and developing nations, discusses those inequalities that transcend borders such as the coronavirus pandemics and global anti-vaccination.


Some knowledge of statistics including χ2 test and variance-covariance.


  1. explain the roles of health in global development
  2. estimate and explain social inequalities in health in developed and developing nations, arising from salient stratifications including wealth, gender, social class, caste, ethnicity, education
  3. explore pandemics including the novel coronavirus 2019 and national responses; or global attitudes to vaccination and science
  4. explain spatial inequalities in health at various scales (world, country, districts, neighbourhoods) in the service of exploration and communication
  5. analyse global health data for assessing achievements in sustainable development
  6. explain health systems which underpin of population health achievement

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures – face to face with instructors following the standard lecture format.

Practical or computer lab workshops – working together with or led by graduate teaching assistants on raw health data from international and national organisations, using software used by international and national organisations.

Tutorials or seminars – working with or led by graduate teaching assistants on evidence and issues of key health inequalities

Independent study

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate a critical and comparative understanding of contemporary research and policy concerns relating to global health.

Intellectual skills

  • Recognise, assess and evaluate key inequalities in health.

Practical skills

  • Critically interpret and debate current issues on social inequalities in health and their determinants.
  • Estimate key inequalities using raw health data used by the World Health Organisation.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Appraise key issues of global health inequalities and take responsibility by planning your learning of the issues.
  • Undertake and independent work to deadlines.
  • Obtain information, evaluate, and analyse of different kinds of evidence on health inequalities.
  • Develop, articulate and sustain logical, structured and reasoned arguments in both written and oral contexts.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Write executive report based on original analyses of international health data.
Problem solving
Solve problems of estimating the extent of key health inequalities using international health data collected by the WHO

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 60%
Written assignment (inc essay) 40%

Feedback methods

Continuous feedback will be provided duing in-class interactions, especially tutorials, computer labs and workshops. Students can expect to receive summative written feedback via Blackboard within three weeks of the essay submission date. Also, if students require clarification on this feedback, they are encouraged to meet their teacher during their office hours.


Recommended reading

Birn, Pillay and Holtz 2018. Textbook of Global Health. Oxford University Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 24
Practical classes & workshops 8
Tutorials 8
Independent study hours
Independent study 110

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Gindo Tampubolon Unit coordinator

Return to course details