CCGL9060 Global Issues

Health is Global: An International Relations Perspective


[While this course is open to students from all Faculties as a regular Common Core course, it is also tailored to be flexible in class participation for MBBS students in their Enrichment Year, who, after Face-to-Face interaction at the beginning of the course will participate through online learning at their study site in Mainland China / overseas.

Course Description

In this course, we will address how global health issues play out in an international context. Interaction between national, multinational, profit-seeking and philanthropic entities will be the subject of our exploration.

We will first begin with the origin of global health diplomacy and its development across periods of significant health incidents. Special attention will be given at international framework such as World Health Organisation; we will look at its instruments and limits along with the nature of diplomatic constraints in this section. We will then move on to topics on globalisation and the emergence of multinational enterprises that affect people’s health and see how their interest shape the global health conditions. The creation of large scale enterprises and NGOs, as well as the birth of mega-philanthropists, open up the conversation from the international to organizations at different levels. Lastly we will apply knowledge we have learnt to understand the development of global health governance and the diplomatic relationships, in the broad sense of “diplomacy,” of different parties.

Role-play activities will be adopted to make the learning process both interesting and realistic.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze the interconnection among healthcare, politics, economies and international relations.
  2. Discern the underlying socio-economic and cultural factors that affect each country’s attitude in Global Healthcare Diplomacy.
  3. Contribute to the on-going discussion and reformation of the Global Health Diplomacy in face of the evolving 21st Century.
  4. Devise a comprehensive plan to work towards a common goal and balance the interest of different stakeholders.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Online lectures 24
Workshops 18
Seminars 6
Reading / Self-study / Preparation for tutorials 30
Assessment: Written assignments 20
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 40
Total: 128

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Group project (presentation and report) 50
Class participation 20
Case assignments 20
Online discussion 10

Required Reading

  • Dodgson, R., Lee, K., Drager, N. (2002). Global health governance: A conceptual review. From
  • Garrett, L. (2007, January – February). The challenge of global health. Foreign Affairs, 86(1), 14-38.
  • Gostin, L. O., & Sridhar, D. (2014). Global Health and the Law. New England Journal of Medicine, 370, 1732-1740.
  • Hill, P. S. (2011). Understanding global health governance as a complex adaptive system. Global Public Health, 6(6), 593-605.
  • Katz, R., et al. (2011). Defining Health Diplomacy: Changing Demands in the Era of Globalization. The Milbank Quarterly 89(3), 503–523. PMC.
  • Labonté, R., Gagnon, M. L. (2010, December). Framing health and foreign policy: Lessons for global health diplomacy. Globalization and health, 6(1),14.
  • Leung, G. M., Rainer, T. H., Lau, F. L., Wong, I. O., Tong, A., Wong, T. W., Kong, J. H., Hedley, A. J., & Lam, T. H. (2004, September 7). A clinical prediction rule for diagnosing severe acute respiratory syndrome in the emergency department. Annals of internal medicine, 141(5), 333-42.
  • Michaud, J., & Kates, J. (2013, March). Global Health Diplomacy: advancing foreign policy and global health interests. Global Health: Science and Practice, 1(1), 24-28. From
  • Shetty, P. (2013). Adeeba Kamarulzaman: fighting HIV/AIDS in Malaysia. Lancet, 381(9883), 2073.
  • Stuckler, D., Basu, S., & McKee, M. (2011). Global health philanthropy and institutional relationships: How should conflicts of interest be addressed? PLoS Medicine, 8(4), e1001020.

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr A.K.C. Wai
LKS Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 3917 9859
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr A.K.C. Wai
LKS Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 3917 9859