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About this subject
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The world has experienced a health crisis like no other in our lifetimes. COVID-19 has been a defining issue for global health, and for the international laws that govern health. COVID-19 also exemplified the health inequalities that represent the most enduring and consequential global health challenge of our time. Even before COVID-19, a child born in sub-Saharan Africa was expected to 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 Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance. We will bring 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 COVID-19, monkeypox, Ebola and novel influenza) and the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases. The central theme running throughout the discussions will be global health with justice. The subject uses innovative teaching activities to highly engage students, including contemporary case studies and real-life simulations.
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 (e.g. anthrax or smallpox), major chronic diseases caused by modern lifestyles (e.g. obesity or tobacco use), and the complex health threats of climate change and antimicrobial resistance. We will also explore key innovations in global health law and governance on the horizon, including reform of the International Health Regulations and a new Pandemic Treaty.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject should be able to:
- Critically reflect on the legal, economic, political, and public health policy concepts relevant to global public health law
- Identify and distinguish between the major institutions and organisations affecting global health, including intergovernmental organisations, non-governmental organisations, public-private partnerships, and foundations
- Examine and explain the international legislative and political processes and how the processes influence the creation and implementation of global health law commitments
- Investigate and apply 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
- Evaluate the most pressing contemporary problems in global health and generate innovative solutions for global health governance
Last updated: 10 November 2023