An in-depth look at important issues and current debates in health policy, health economics and health financing, taking into account the diverse profit and not for profit systems.
This course is tropEd accredited and is intended for public health professionals looking to elevate their capabilities in healthcare financing. It can be followed as a stand-alone course or as part of the Master in International Health or Master in Public Health programmes.
“From the course Health Policy and Financing I learned how to organize and manage a program in Nepal called Microfinance and Microhealth insurance or so called community based health insurance . The main objective of this program is of increasing financial accessibility. This is obtained by increasing income through skill based training. But also by creating awareness regarding common female and reproductive health problems and diseases and taking health as an asset and value and care for it. The program has been undertaken in five different Outreach Centres of Dhulikhel Hosptial located in different rural areas of Nepal: Salambu, Bahunepati, Dapcha, Baluwa, and Kattike Deurali. Until now the programme has a total of 28 groups of which six groups have completed their loan cycle. The total no. of beneficiaries are 300. Besides accessing credit, the women are given different kinds of skill-based trainings and awareness sessions on different health issues through this programme. Similarly, the Microhealth Insurance Program has targeted improvement of health of mother and children. My training at KIT has provided me the knowledge to further strengthen these programs and serve the needy people at their doorstep.”
“Money makes the world go ‘round”. Money alone does not ensure a functioning health system; policy is an equally important pillar of public health. This module gave me a deeper understanding of the complexities of health policy and financing. Of course the students studied and debated the issues that low- and middle-income countries face, but there was also room to look at opportunities, good-practices and out-of-the-box approaches to health policy and financing.
Awareness of health policy and financing is also relevant for those working ‘in the field’, as a midwife I found that after taking this module I could better understand and/or criticize policy or financing decisions being made by those in higher levels.”
“I was really surprised to learn that health is not operating on its own. There is a strong relationship between health and other ‘challenges’ in the world like education, sanitation, live style, environment, water, economics etc. There are different approaches and there is not such as a ‘one fits all solution’. Therefore it is so important that for example NGO’s, Agencies and Government are work together.”
”‘Health policy and financing module deeply taught me how I critically could analyse the currd on available evidences through writing a policy brief. Furthermore, the module was very helpful to understand different methods of financing of the health systems.”
“In our time, organizations and technology are evolving so rapidly that health care professionals must continually seek new skills and perspectives that enable them not only to respond to change, but also to anticipate it. And this is exactly what we were trained in KIT. Besides these academic competencies that are making a lot of difference in what I do now, staying and studying in Amsterdam also had positive effects in many ways; the principles of “equal opportunity for all people, irrespective of gender, age, race or religion” were visible in all aspects of the Dutch life.”
“I work as a deputy manager in the Federal Ministry of Health within the department for emergency and humanitarian action. We cover natural disasters and conflict-affected areas, which, sadly, are numerous. By designing and implementing capacity building programmes, and working together with health partners and international donors, we try to improve our public health sector at regional levels. I came to KIT because I wanted to add more knowledge to my experience. I hope that my master’s degree from KIT will help me to influence decision-makers in Sudan.”
“The MPH study program was comprehensive and mixed of theories, practices, skills, tools to apply the knowledge, and real examples from developing countries. Program topics were all interesting and relevant to practical work in the field. With what I learned I can contribute to strengthening the policy and strategies relevant to health in Afghanistan.”
Coordinators & Support
This module takes an in-depth look at important issues and current debates in health policy, health economics and health financing. Among these are the vital discussion points of decentralisation, the public-private mix, international finance of health goods, aid effectiveness, TRIPS, community participation, health insurance and governance of health systems. The influence that certain actors, such as the international donor community and consumer groups, have on the health policy agenda is explored, and recent influential reports concerning health policy are discussed.
As part of this course, students are required to critically read and discuss papers on specific health policy debates in low and middle income countries. Examples of such policy debates include:
- feasibility of national insurance systems
- the role of private sector and contracting arrangements and
- the relationship between decentralisation and equity
- Review on health systems and health reforms;
- Overview of key considerations in financing health systems;
- Alternative modes of financing based on WHO report (2010);
- Challenges of health insurance; and contracting/performance based financing;
- Organization of aid, major developments in the area of international (development) finance, including those in the area of aid, debt (relief) and the financial sector;
- The economics behind aid, and the financial crisis, the linkages between these developments and health;
- World Trade Organization, intellectual property and Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS);
- Characteristics and challenges around decentralization in the context of health systems;
- Community participation as a means for better governance and accountability;
- Public and private roles: in provision of health services, in financing, and other functions across the building blocks of health systems;
- Vertical vs horizontal programs and integration of services; Policy analysis;
- Understanding and operationalising equity considerations across the policy cycle;
- Tutorials on current issues and debates in health policy and finance.
At the end of the module the participants should be able to:
- discuss and apply a framework for policy analysis, considering effectiveness, equity and implementation challenges.
- appraise alternative (and innovative) modes of financing health systems, including the role of external aid and donors.
- analyse the key characteristics of health system decentralization in low and middle income countries – importance, diversity, trade-offs, context specificity; and propose broad strategies for making decentralization more effective.
- examine and discuss the meaning and importance of community participation in relation to health systems, and particularly its role towards achieving better accountability and governance.
- analyse comparative advantages and disadvantages of public and private roles within health systems, across functions and institutions dealing with the various building blocks; and discuss in particular, the role of contracting and performance based finance.
- Academic training or professional qualification in a relevant area
- Work experience in a related area, including experience in management or planning in developing countries
- Proficiency in spoken and written English
The application package is due two months before the start of the course.
Please upload your application online. The following documents should be uploaded:
- A one-page letter of motivation
- Copies of your diplomas and grade reports
- An up-to-date curriculum vitae and a list of publications if applicable
What we expect from your motivation letter:
Please indicate in your motivation letter why you want to follow this specific course, why you want to follow the course at KIT Amsterdam, what do you expect to learn and how you will apply your newly gained competencies from the course in your work, what kind of benefits will it bring to your future career, etc. Describe a relevant problem you have experienced in the last two years that you would like to discuss during this specific course. Your motivation should be about ½-1 page. Please do not repeat your CV again.
This course can be taken on its own, as advanced module of the Master of Public Health (MPH) or as part of the Master in International Health (MIH) programme.
FAQ Online Application System
Do you have a question about our Online Application System? Then you can find the answer in our FAQ Online Application System:
Classes are normally held at KIT’s training facilities in Amsterdam.
In 2020 and 2021 this course was exceptionally given as a virtual learning course due to Covid-19. Should in the future the situation not allow for face-to-face learning, we will consider to give this course via e-learning again. All admitted applicants will be informed automatically if anything changes in the set-up of this course.
There is a severe shortage of student accommodation in Amsterdam and participants are advised to contact KIT for information. KIT will endeavour to assist participants in their search for housing.
Citizens of most EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands. Visit the Nuffic website for the latest information on visa requirements.
Participants from other countries must obtain a short-stay visa (for up to three months) through the Netherlands embassy or consulate covering the applicant’s country. Applicants will need a letter of admission to the course and proof of sponsorship or sufficient funds to cover the course fee, travel and accommodation costs. Applicants should take into account that in some countries this procedure can take several months.
Course participants and accompanying dependents are required by Dutch law to have health, accident and third-party insurance. Unless their current insurance policy covers their stay abroad, participants must insure themselves and their dependents in the Netherlands. Dutch insurance companies offer reasonable rates to foreign students.
The arrangement of financial support to cover all study costs is the responsibility of the applicant. KIT does not offer financial support or scholarships.
For this course and a number of other KIT courses funding from the Orange Knowledge Programme OKP is available for applicants from OKP countries. See the OKP page for more information on the eligible countries, eligibility criteria and application instructions. Applicants from OKP countries are strongly encouraged to apply for an OKP scholarship.
The OKP application needs to be submitted via an online application system from Nuffic. All accepted applicants from OKP eligible countries will receive the link to apply automatically when the application period opens.
The OKP application period normally is September-October.
See top of this page for the OKP application deadline for this course.
Please note that the academic application to the Royal Tropical Institute has to be received at the latest 1 month before the OKP deadline. You are advised however to apply to KIT as early as possible.
See the detailed instructions on OKP information.
The European Credit Transfer System (EC) facilitates the transfer of course credits between different institutions of the same academic level. A study load comprising 28 hours of formal teaching and private study is equivalent to one EC credit point.
This course is also accredited for the Master in International Health programme organised by TropEd, a network of European institutions for higher education in international health.
Why study at KIT?
Up-to-date approach to complex public health issues
Exchange between disciplines
Development of personal and professional competencies
Participants from diverse backgrounds and countries
Teaching by highly qualified specialists
Positively reviewed by tropEd
KIT: international centre of excellence in international health and development
Accredited by NVAO