Global Health Concentration

Why offer training on Global Health at Sciences Po?

Today, most countries face important challenges, not only but very prominently in the area of Global Health. Increasing social and health inequalities, malnutrition and food security, economic impact of pandemic threats, poor results in maternal and child health, remaining great challenges in HIV, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases prevention, insufficient access to medicines, sanitation and water, scarcity of human resources and capacities, weak governance, health effects of climate change or migrations, non-communicable diseases, insufficient progress in aid effectiveness, to name a few, have become major concerns which are shared world-wide under the concept of “Global Health”.

For over a decade, health has risen to the top of the agenda of world political and economic leaders and meetings, the G8, the G20, Davos Economic Forum, The World Trade Organisation, the UN General Assembly, UN ECOSOC, even the UN Security Council, but also within the European Union institutions and its 28 EU Member States. Various instances are currently discussing health challenges and threats around demographic growth and inequity, particularly in the least developed countries. In response to this situation, is universal health coverage a goal to fight poverty or to improve population health?

The concept of “Global Health” appears for the first time in “America’s vital interest in Global Health” Report, edited in 1997 by the USA Institute of Medicine at the time. This notion, as well as its history, has an ontological link with the scale and speed of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa in the mid-1990s, and led to the dominant paradigm of international health cooperation in the last 20 years, under which the global public-private partnerships for HIV/AIDS where founded. 

As the world is currently undergoing extremely vast geographical and geopolitical changes, we question whether this paradigm is relevant to address contemporary and future health challenges, as well as to help reach the sustainable development goals by 2030, including SDG 3: “Ensure healthy lives ans promote well-being for all at all ages”. 

Our concentration in Global Health will discuss these issues as they are debated (or not) in the international arena. While we have changed the paradigm of development, possibly switching to sustainable development goals, as opposed to the millennium development goals, how does health fit in the new picture, and what are the risks the international community is taking with regard to specific situations in the Global South? The issues at stake are such, that health is not anymore in the hands of the doctors alone, or even public health specialists, but is become an everyday everywhere concern for policy makers facing increasing demand with ageing populations, non communicable diseases’ burden, effects of climate change and environmental threats.

In this global context, the need for improved level of expertise in International Health and Global Health, both internationally and in low and middle-income partner countries, is huge. Current nutrition, health, population and HIV/AIDS situation analysis in a global context of financial and economic crisis, particularly the health sector human resource crisis, as well as increased donor funding coupled with weakened management and institutions at country level, call for training expertise worldwide to accompany new ideas as well as new financial instruments and global public and private partnerships for health globally and at country level. Policy makers, strategists, and administrators should feel confident working with health specialists and medical personnel. Our focus at PSIA is to work in relation to improving health situation and responses predominantly, and not exclusively, in low-income and emerging countries, with a strong emphasis on the poorest countries, and the poorest people where ever they live, in rich countries as well as in emerging economies.

For all these reasons, Sciences Po offers several courses in Global Health to students at the Paris School of International Affairs.

Goal of the Concentration in Global Health

The goal is to train future high and top-level leaders, in economics, politics and diplomacy, administrators of technical cooperation, and enable them to deal with global health-related contexts and challenges that require broader expertise and analysis than usually provided by just medicine or public health knowledge. This programme is very special with respect to the multispectral areas of its content.

The focus of our course is unique in the international arena, as it is not inspired by the core competencies in public health or training provided in public health schools  rather, the objectives and contents of our offering is customized to our students.

France and Europe’s public and private institutions have definitely a long-lasting experience and worldwide acknowledged expertise and leadership in Humanitarian Affairs as well as Development, including Globalisation, Humanitarian action and Health, International Health policies and strategies and Development Practices, Trade and access to Medicines, Health Financing and Social Protection, Innovative Financing in Health (France is a founding country of UNITAID, UK a founding country of IFF, for example. Our countries have outstanding research and expertise in Research for Development, Food Security, Anthropology and development, etc. Our collaboration expands to institutions in the European Union or in Brussels as well as with UN agencies in Geneva, or others all over the world, including field work in developing countries.

Target audience

The Global Health Concentration is proposed to the students enrolled in Sciences Po or in the “Paris School of International Affairs” in different Masters. No special prior training is required, everyone is most welcome.
Additionally, we have set up an e-group with many members already, amongst alumni, students, and professors, named “worldhealth”, through which students and teachers or practitioners in the fields of health and development share information, knowledge, experience and publications, internship and job opportunities. Worldhealth has become a very dynamic communication tool linking existing members and new students each year.

Global Health Concentration Contents

The contents of the training is not limited to health issues per se, but include situation and response analysis in relation to access to water and medicines, pandemics and non-communicable diseases, maternal and child health, women health and rights, health systems financing or policy and strategic making, food security, in various national and international contexts, conflict and post conflict countries, etc. as well as how international strategies and aid effectiveness debates apply to this area. Examples are inspired by field experience. Students are encouraged to think and get prepared to dealing with complex and interrelated health and development or health and human rights and humanitarian affairs challenges.

Professors and Guest Speakers

The Concentration in Global Health team of professors is a mix of profiles, with medical doctors having worked for over 25 years in international health, with tremendous field experience, as well as health economists, researchers and development specialists; all of them share a world-wide network of partner institutions, leaders and specialists in Global Health, who are often invited to participate to conferences and special events at Paris School of International Affairs.

This training stream offers opportunities for first-class partnerships between the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po, Institut Pasteur, the College de France, as well as with other universities in France, Europe and worldwide. In addition, the quality and evidence-based nature of the learning process is guaranteed through contribution from and in relation with a selection of organizations and partner countries that are directly confronted with the current challenges in Global Health.

The diversity of courses offered within the Global Health concentration program can be found on the Thematic Concentration course offerings.

Professor Dominique Kerouedan, Scientific Advisor of the Concentration in Global Health, PSIA

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