Global Health Concentration

Why offer training on Global Health at Sciences Po?

The current Covid-19 pandemic not only threatens people’s health and the capacity of health personnel and health systems to respond, but also human rights, the economy, and international relations at the European Union and global level. As International Crisis Group says, the pandemic may also threaten or worsen the political stability in different countries and regions, particularly in Fragile States.

Most countries face important challenges in a range of Global Health areas, including: increasing social and health inequalities, malnutrition and food security, poor results in maternal and child health, infectious diseases prevention, access to medicines, access to sanitation and water, impact of climate change or migration, non-communicable diseases, and aid effectiveness. The resources (human, material or financial) devoted to Covid-19 should be additional rather than taken from current already stretched programs in poor countries.

For over two decades now, health has risen to the top of the agenda of world political and economic leaders. Health challenges and threats are being discussed alongside 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 the 1991 Asia Pacific Journal, and “Global Health” becomes a paradigm of the international cooperation soon after the publication of the “America’s vital interest in Global Health” Report, edited in 1997 by the USA Institute of Medicine. 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 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, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as to help reach the sustainable development goals by 2030, including SDG 3: “Ensure healthy lives and 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. The paradigm of development has switched to sustainable development goals, but 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.

In this global context, the need for improved level of expertise in Global Health, both internationally and in low and middle-income partner countries, is huge. Current nutrition, health, population and pandemics 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 and legitimate 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 and the future challenges that they are going to be confronted to in their respective professional lives. The aim of the concentration is to teach how to think strategically, whatever the challenge is, taking examples from the Global Health spectrum, with a team of professors who have long-term experience in developing countries.

France and Europe’s public and private institutions have definitely a long-lasting experience and worldwide acknowledged expertise and leadership in Humanitarian Health (the French Doctors), International 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 the Global Fund, of UNITAID, UK a founding country of IFFm, for example.

Our countries have outstanding research and expertise in Research for Development, Food Security, Anthropology and development, etc. Our Concentration collaboration expands to institutions in the European Union, 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 any of PSIA’s Master specialisations.

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. 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 30 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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