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This course is offered in two modes: either face to face (on-campus) and fully online.

You may be one of those people who asks yourself "what economics has to do with health and health care?" For some people, economics seems quite at odds with fundamental social goals such as  'good health'. The answer lies in the fact that resources are inevitably scarce and choices have to be made about their allocation. Health economics is about the optimisation of health relative to other activities and making choices to use resources in ways that improve health and service delivery within the limited resources available. Health economics can provide insight into questions like:  Which is the more effective method of increasing the uptake of health services: price-controls or subsidies? How will the involvement of the private sector in the funding and delivery of health care affect access to it? What are the most cost-effective mechanisms for delivering essential medicines to those living in remote areas? Are out of pocket payments for health care a regressive funding mechanism? How should doctors be paid? The primary goal of this course is to provide participants with the knowledge, skills, and basic economic arguments that are central to discussions about health policy options and resource allocation choices in low and middle income countries. By the end of the course, students will be in a stronger position to (i) Demonstrate understanding of the main functions and challenges facing health systems in the developing world; (ii) explain the key economic principles and concepts relevant to health economics and financing; (iii) discuss specific features that distinguish markets for health care from markets for other goods and services; (iv) distinguish between the principal ways of funding health services and paying health care providers; and (v) critically appraise evidence on the efficiency and equity implications of health financing reforms in low and middle income countries. 


Faculty of Medicine

Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 2



Delivery Mode

Fully online

Indicative contact hours


Conditions for Enrolment

Prerequisite: Students who are not enrolled in a postgraduate program in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine will need to provide approval from their program authority and the approval of the course convenor to

Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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