Joel M Ngugi
This course is an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the complexities inherent in efforts to simultaneously improve health and human rights in the context of the unique economic, social, political and cultural transformations (and upheavals) occurring in the Greater Horn of Africa. It will examine the multiplicity of social, economic, cultural, legal, and political factors which affect the health and well-being of individuals and societies, and interrogate working models of approaches to favorably alter them. The course will examine ways in which public health professionals, lawyers, development agencies, anthropologists, social workers, and others have theorized about social and economic change, and the history and ethical implications of their practical engagement with development intervention to improve health standards for populations in the Greater Horn of Africa. Through interdisciplinary studies, the course will seek to demonstrate the links between economic, sociological, social, historical, and political processes, changing identities and development intervention. It will examine concrete social problems in developing countries such as public health management, access to health care, women’s property rights, trade and economic development policies, the effects of armed conflicts and environmental degradation, the role of human rights, and the role of the state and regulation.
Student learning goals
1. Identify the key principles articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Treaties on Human Rights related to health and human rights.
2. Analyze the inter-sectionality of the cultural, economic, social, political, ethical, ecological, and legal challenges that face the goal of ensuring the attainment of the highest possible standards of health to individuals in the Greater Horn of Africa.
3. Describe the health implications of “globalization” and discuss the relationship between economic development and the right to health.
4. Describe and assess the impact of using various social transformation tools and perspectives in designing and implementing programs and policies aimed at improving health and human rights.
5. Summarize the various cycles of development interventions in the various countries in the Greater Horn of Africa, and their impact on health.
6. Demonstrate skills in critical analysis of complex beliefs, values, legal, ethical and pragmatic principles to difficult and controversial issues at the heart of health outcomes in the contexts of justice, poverty, and knowledge.
General method of instruction
Class time will include presentations by faculty and invited lecturers with an opportunity for student response and discussion, small and large group discussion of the issues and methodology presented. Students and faculty will explore the opportunities and challenges of viewing health related issues from the perspectives of each discipline. The primary goal of the course is to train the students to think of the challenges of “development” and social transformation in an inter-disciplinary manner; as complex societal problems for which there is no structural recipe such as a “rule of law” infusion or introduction of a “correct” model of health policy making.
Class assignments and grading
The final grade will be based upon a mid-term exam (for undergraduate students), class participation, and a final paper (or Research Paper Option for Graduate Students.