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Title: Health Economics and Health Financing
Keywords: Universal health coverage
Health economics
Country: Switzerland
Institution: Switzerland - Swiss Tropical & Public Health Institute, Basel
Date start: 2024-04-22
Date end: 2024-04-26
About duration and dates: Application deadline: 18 March 2024. Prep phase: 25 March – 19 April 2024. Hybrid face to face week: 22 – 26 April 2024. Post phase: 29 April – 07 June 2024.
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Blended-learning
Course location: Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Kreuzstrasse 2, CH – 4123 Allschwil, Switzerland.
ECTS credit points: 6 ECTS credits
- Hybrid or face-to-face hours: 40 h
- Self-study hours: 138 h
- Written final exam: 2 h

Students will spend 50 hrs working on assessed tasks and assignments to prepare for the face-to-face sessions, 40 hrs in the classroom sessions, 88 hours completing an assessed written assignment and preparing for a written exam, and 2 hours writing the exam.
Language: English
After successfully completing the module, students will be able to:
● Describe key concepts in health economics
● Evaluate why economic considerations are important when addressing the health system
● Characterise the main financing and payment mechanisms of health services
● Employ the principles of taxation, user fees and health insurance
● Analyse the rationale of performance-based funding
● Appraise the effects of different financing and payment mechanisms of health services on equity, efficiency and the sustainability of the system
● Assess the available options for improving financing of health services and for including the poor
● Critically reflect on the policy implications of health financing for reaching “Universal Health Coverage”
Assessment Procedures:
During the preparation phase, students will complete a graded written assignment before the hybrid face-to-face week of the course. Based on provided documents, they will discuss three components of ‘equity’ in health care according to one of the background papers (word limit 1500 words, excluding references; 25% of total mark).

In the post phase, students have to analyze a country-level scenario and write an essay in the form of a summary of recommendations addressed to decision-makers (word limit: 1800 words, references excluded). Note: as it is a fictional scenario and the analysis should come from the individual students, not many references are expected. (50% of total mark).
In addition, a written online ‘open-book’ exam needs to be conducted during the post phase. There will be a time period of 2 to 3 weeks during which the exam can be done. The exam consists of a combination of multiple choice and short answer questions (2 hours; 30% of the final mark).
A failing grade in one of the different assignments can be compensated as long as the total mark is 60 out of 100 points or better, with the exception of the final written exam, which must be passed successfully. In the case of a failing grade in one of the distance-based assignments, students will get a new assignment, similar to the original one. A re-sit for the final written exam is possible; dates and location will be discussed on an individual basis.
The course provides a short introduction to key concepts of health economics, such as public goods, externalities and supply and demand, as applied to health and the health sector.

Based on the WHO health system performance framework, the module then discusses health financing – its functions, payment systems, the effect of health system organisation on financing, the indicators by which to assess it, and how financing relates to other building blocks of a health system. These factors are used to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a country’s level and structure of health financing.

Most health systems are characterised by a mix of public and private financing and delivery of care. For a health system to perform well – i.e., to provide needed, good-quality health services to all who need them – public and private financing agents need to generate an appropriate amount of revenue; pool risks; create appropriate incentives for quality service provision from all providers; and allocate resources to the most effective, efficient, and equitable interventions and services irrespective of the sector. These functions should be managed efficiently, minimising administrative costs. The module will expose and discuss these aspects so that participants can critically discuss and share views on health financing and payment reforms at local, national and global level. Health financing will be further discussed in the context of achieving “Universal Health Coverage” and Sustainable Development Goal 3.

The following topics will be covered:
▪ Intro to key concepts of health economics
▪ Health financing and modalities of provider payment
▪ User fees and tax financing in respect to equity aspects
▪ Vouchers
▪ Principles of health insurance
▪ Health insurance: indicators and organisational principles
▪ Including the poor in health financing
▪ Performance-based funding
▪ Development aid for health and evolution
During the two distance-based phases, students will engage in self-directed learning to meet learning objectives, using materials and tools provided on the online learning management system (Moodle).
● Preparation phase: consists of 40 hours of independent study (readings, assessed tasks and assignments) to prepare for hybrid face-to-face sessions.
● Post phase: consists of 98 hours of independent study (further research, case study analysis and report writing; and preparing for the written exam).
During the two distance-based phases, students will also be asked to initiate and respond to discussion threads posted to the Moodle forum (at their convenience) and will have the opportunity to ask questions of the facilitators via the discussion tool.

The hybrid face-to-face week (5 days) consists of interactive lectures (approx. 30 hours), complemented by daily facilitator-supported group work exercises and feedback sessions (approx. 10 – 15 hours). Students will also engage in discussions around various key concepts and topics during this week.

Students are expected to attend and actively participate at tutorials.
tropEd candidates must show an English language level TOEFL test 550 or 213 computer-based or 79/80 internet-based or IELTS band 6.0 or equivalent, and an intermediate.
Students need a reliable internet connection to follow the preparation phase and the post-campus (assignment) phase. Students requesting online participation during the hybrid face-to-face week must have a device with a working camera and a stable internet connection. No specific software licenses are needed.
Maximum of 20 - 24 students per course;
maximum number of tropEd students: 8;
online spaces for the hybrid face-to-face week are limited.
For tropEd students: First come, first served principle.
Students who are enrolled in a tropEd Master programme pay the reduced fee (including exam fee) of CHF 2’450; other students pay CHF 2’850 (CHF 410 per ECTS credit point).
Major changes since initial accreditation: The major structure of the course remains the same; adjustments of content are done by introducing new case studies/examples from the field, introducing also new facilitators.

The face-to-face week of synchronous, full time teaching will be offered in hybrid mode for the foreseeable future. Students can request online participation if they can demonstrate need (travel or family restrictions, health concerns).

In 2021, Swiss TPH moved to its new headquarters on the outskirts of Basel and a short distance from the previous location. The new building offers a more modern infrastructure, including seminar rooms specifically designed for hybrid course delivery.
Student evaluation: The course always had general ratings between very good and excellent. Suggestions were given to provide some materials earlier. Two students complained about not stable connections. Appreciated was the heterogeneity of the class in terms of professional background and place of origin.
Lessons learned: Due to Covid pandemic the course was given in 2020 online and in 2021 in a hybrid format. To reduce the synchronous time more preparation tasks were given after the afternoon sessions for the next day. In addition some lectures were recorded to serve students with bad internet connection.
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited in November 2017 and Septembre 2022. This accreditation is valid until Septembre 2027.
This module is offered regularly as a core-module in Swiss TPH’s MBA in International Health Management programme, therefore the number of tropEd students we can admit is limited.

Throughout the module, an online learning management system (Moodle) will be used to support learning activities in the distance-based phases, during which students will be required to complete assignments, self-assessment quizzes, and upload learning products (short papers, statements, presentations, references and documents related to certain topics) linked to the objectives of this module. Through Moodle, students will also have the opportunity to interact with each other (and the facilitators) at their convenience to discuss these same learning products, using discussion forums and other tools.

On request, distance-based, more detailed discussions with facilitators are possible during agreed timeslots. Online participation for the full-time, hybrid face-to-face week is possible but these spaces are limited.
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Date Of Record Creation: 2017-11-26 03:25:55 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2017-11-26 08:48:30 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2017-11-26 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2023-07-27 12:34:17 (W3C-DTF)

Fifteen years of the tropEd Masters in International Health programme: what has it delivered? Results of an alumni survey of masters students in international health

L. Gerstel1, P. A. C. Zwanikken1, A. Hoffman2, C. Diederichs3, M. Borchert3 and B. Peterhans2

1 Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
3 Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Charite – Universit€atsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany