Planning for health: a course review

Our first semester at Karolinska Institutet is finally over! It was an amazing first period packed with new friends and experiences that set a clear stage for our challenges ahead. I present you with the review for our fourth course of the Health Economics, Policy and Management programme, titled “Planning in Health”. Even though it was a short course, most of my classmates enjoyed it to a full extent.

Course structure and lectures:

The course provides deep understanding of the determinants of health and the aspects of health planning in different societies. Lectures were both theoretical but also practical, as teachers encouraged us to think critically about the challenges faced in health planning. The content of lectures included:

  • Concepts of planning
  • Health determinants
  • Equity issues in planning for health
  • Planning methods
  • Opportunities and challenges in health planning
  • Perspectives of different stakeholders
  • The political process of planning

The director for this course was senior lecturer Claudia Hanson MD, MSc in International Health, Msc in Epidemiology and PhD. Dr Hanson is renowned gynaecologist and researcher with several articles published in the field of maternal and child health. She lived in Africa for many years while working on her research and in health systems strengthening. She also received the Swedish Institute for Global Health Transformation (SIGHT) award of 2019 for improving maternal and newborn health in low-resource settings. I must recognize that she is also one of the most passionate teachers I’ve met in this country so far.

The team for this course also included a talented health systems analyst and Swedish politician, as well as a researcher specialized in health district planning.


The course had a duration of only 2 weeks. We had lectures both in the morning and afternoon as well as time allocated to work on the group assignment. I really wished it lasted more!


This course was graded only with a group assignment. Our teachers assigned groups with either a national or district-level health plan from selected countries. Our task consisted in analyse the plans in order to present recommendations at the end of the course. It would be fair to say that all groups really enjoyed this assignment!

How campus looks like after a winter lecture

Class insights…

What did you like the most about the course? Was it different from what you have studied/worked on before?

Solomiya Kasyanchuk (Canada/Ukraine):

The health planning course has to be one of the most interesting courses I have taken so far in the program. The course leader and the guest speaker had a lot of insight into the topics they were presenting. Together with the lecture material they told us about a lot of relevant and interesting personal experiences from working within health planning, that shed a new light on a lot of issues, and made me consider some of these topics in a different way.

Although I have worked at the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and have read many health policies and plans, I found that the course taught me a new way of approaching analysis and criticism of health planning. By both learning the necessary skills and applying these skills to our assignment, I learned how to justifiably critique a plan with well-founded argumentation, rather than mere criticism.

Tengiz Samkharadze (Georgia):

Planning for health was an interesting experience. During a very short period, we had a chance to do a retrospective analysis of health plans from different settings. It was intriguing to investigate end products health plans and to define the stakeholders’ interests, through observing the development process. The course was practice-oriented and provided an opportunity to acquire knowledge for planning process, which later can be applied in a real-world.


You can check here all the reviews of the first semester of the Health Economics, Policy and Management programme.

Stay tuned for our next semester!

Stay tuned!



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