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Health inequalities represent the most enduring and consequential global health challenge of our time. A child born in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, will live on average nearly 30 years less than a child born in Australia. This subject provides students with a firm understanding of the role of international law in promoting, or harming, human health. It covers ‘hard’ law such as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, as well as ‘soft law’ such as the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. The lecturer brings into the discussion multiple international fields that powerfully affect health, such as trade, agriculture and climate change, and covers pressing topics including emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (like Zika, Ebola and influenza) and the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases. The central theme running throughout the discussions will be global health justice. The subject uses innovative teaching tools to highly engage students, including case studies and real-life simulations.
Professor Lawrence Gostin is an internationally renowned scholar in international public health law at Georgetown University and has recently published a definitive and ground-breaking book on this subject (Global Health Law, Harvard University Press, 2014).
This subject will provide students with an in-depth understanding of global health law and examine the major contemporary problems in global health, the principal international legal instruments governing global health and the principal international organisations and innovative solutions for global health governance in the 21st century. It will cover naturally occurring infectious diseases, past and future epidemics, bioterrorism events (eg anthrax or smallpox) and/or major chronic diseases caused by modern lifestyles (eg obesity or tobacco use).
Principal topics include:
- Health in a globalised world
- The ‘grand challenges’ in global health
- National security and global health: national interests, enlightened self-interest and health diplomacy
- International health law: the WHO International Health Regulations and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
- Health and human rights
- World trade and world health
- Innovations in global health governance: towards a framework convention on global health.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have analysed and critically reflected on the legal, economic, political and public health policy concepts relevant to global public health law
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the major institutions and organisations affecting global health, including intergovernmental organisations, non-governmental organisations and foundations
- Have examined and have a clear understanding of the international legislative and political processes and how the processes influence the creation and implementation of global health law commitments
- Understand the theoretical framework surrounding contemporary forms of international law relating to global health, including the WHO International Health Regulations, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, World Trade Organization (WTO) treaties and international human rights
- Have developed expert, specialised cognitive and technical skills to independently assess and explain the most pressing contemporary problems in global health and innovative solutions for global health governance.
Last updated: 2 December 2019