INTH-360-01 Comparative Health Systems
Fall for 2017-2018
Eva Jarawan, Willy De Geyndt
The premise of this course is that health systems affect health outcomes. A well-functioning health system decreases the burden of disease and improves i the health status and well-being of the population it serves.

The focus of the course is a comparative analysis of the performance of health care systems in a set of developed and developing countries with an emphasis on the latter. It does so by analyzing the main components of a health care system: its governance, its workforce, its financing, its organization, its information and surveillance capability, its use of technology, medical products and vaccines. Basic to this analysis is knowledge of how to measure the performance of a health system (equity, efficiency, quality and patients’ satisfaction) selecting valid, reliable and appropriate indicators.

Social determinants also affect health outcomes and must be taken into consideration in any comparative analysis of the health of a population.

The analytic approach of the course should expand your understanding of the functioning of health care systems by observing systemic differences rooted in history, culture, social, economic and political factors. It should also increase your knowledge of how and why health systems affect health outcomes. Models of organizing and delivering health care will be discussed and why and how these models have been adopted and adapted by each country. All countries pursue the goal of providing quality health care services efficiently and equitably to the whole population yet a comparative analysis will show that there are many paths to reaching – or only partially reaching - that goal. Countries continuously seek to improve their health systems by introducing or perfecting major reforms or by fine tuning existing health system components.


Objectives: Students will be able to:

a. to use existing data bases containing health status and health system data to , compare and analyze the characteristics and performance of different health systems .
b. recognize how history, cultural values and beliefs, and political decisions shape the development and functioning of health care systems.
c. compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of different health systems (or its components) in selected counties.
d. understand the different strategies that have been proposed and are being used to determine health priorities and allocate limited health resources .
e. develop analytical, skills comparing health outcomes resulting from different ways of organizing, managing, financing and providing health care services.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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