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OASP 2075 - Health systems assessment and humanitarian health interventions

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies


Neither medical nor pharmaceutical pre-requisites. A good understanding of English is required. Internet search as well as MSWord and Excel will be extensively used.

Course Description

A health system is there prior to a humanitarian crisis (natural disaster or armed conflict), during a crisis and continues after a crisis. Much of the internationally-accepted humanitarian guidance highlights the need for responses to humanitarian crises to build on local capacity and work with government and local authorities. There has also been increasing thought that humanitarian crises provide an opportunity to strengthening health systems so that they are stronger following a crisis. However, what is a health system ? And what is not a health system ? How to assess it ? And how humanitarian crises affect local health systems? Through the analysis of current evidence and concrete case studies, the course participants will develop a humanitarian intervention adapted to respond to an emergency crisis. The primary purpose of this course is to familiarise participants with a health systems approach to humanitarian crises, through using practical interactive examples and case studies. Learning objectives : To review the various concepts related to health systems and the six building blocks of the WHO framework. To review existing evidence on humanitarian interventions. To understand the guideline on health systems assessment. To explore the main characteristics of humanitarian interventions in low income countries (facility-based, outreach, community based activities, horizontal versus vertical). To understand the main health systems-related challenges of international health in various areas: financing, human resources, health information system, governance, service delivery, and technology. To determine the need for and how to set up a humanitarian programme based on the analysis of the capacities of a local eye health system.


BLANCHET, Karl (Lecturer)

Pedagogical format

The course will be organized by health systems building block. The main concepts and examples will be presented during lectures and will be followed by group work (analysis of a concrete case study).

Course validation

The participation of the students to the case studies will be evaluated, as well as their overall involvement in the seminar. Each small group will need to produce at the end of the seminar a paper (25 pages) as well as a power point presentation, which will describe the recommended humanitarian intervention.


The course will require extensive reading of scientific articles as well as policy papers.

Required reading

  • Palmer Natasha, Sondorp Egbert, Ter Veen AnneMarie, 2012, Conflict and Health, Open University Press
  • Don de Savigny, Adam Taghreed, Systems thinking, WHO:
  • Karl Blanchet, Boris Martin, 2011, Many Reasons to Intervene French and British Approaches to Humanitarian Action, Oxford University Press

Plans de cours et bibliographies

Session 1: Introduction to the course and description of modern crises
Required readings:

Recommended readings:

  • Karl Blanchet et al. Evidence on public health interventions in humanitarian crises
  • Rwanda – lasting imprints of a genocide: trauma, mental health and psychosocial conditions in survivors, former prisoners and their children Heide Rieder, Thomas Elbert Conflict and Health 2013, 7:6
  • High levels of mortality, malnutrition, and measles, among recently-displaced Somali refugees in Dagahaley camp, Dadaab refugee camp complex, Kenya, 2011 Jonathan A Polonsky, Axelle Ronsse, Iza Ciglenecki, Monica Rull, Klaudia Porten Conflict and Health 2013, 7:1

Session 2: Key concepts in health systems
Required readings:

Session 3: Financing of health systems
Required readings:

Session 4: Group work

Session 5: Human resources
Required readings

Session 6: Group work

Session 7: Governance
Required readings

Session 8: Group work

Session 9: Service delivery
Required readings

Session 10: Group work

Session 11: Information systems
Required readings

Session 12: Assessment and presentations

Short biography

Karl Blanchet is the Director of the Health in Humanitarian Crises ( ) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is Associate Professor in health systems research. Karl has a background in public health and extensive experience in health system strengthening in Asia (Afghanistan, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal) and Africa (Niger, Rwanda, Ghana, Togo, Mali, Somaliland). Karl has specific interests in studying sustainability and resilience issues in global health and more specifically in post-conflict and conflict-affected countries. Karl has developed innovative research approaches based on complexity science, system thinking and social network analysis. Karl also applied innovation theories to understand the routinisation process of health interventions. Karl was also the lead evaluator of the global strategy of the Physical Rehabilitation Programme and the Special Fund for the Disabled of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Karl has also published a methodology handbook on health systems research methodologies that is a key reading for the course: