This course provides an introduction to the analysis of health systems and the processes of health reform, with attention to the technical, political, and ethical aspects of “doing health reform better,” and a focus on low-income and middle-income countries. The course is structured around the analytical framework of five policy levers of financing, payment, organization, regulation, and persuasion, as critical determinants of health system performance, presented in the textbook for the course (Doing Health Reform Right: A Guide to Improving Performance and Equity, by Roberts et al., 2004). The course uses different pedagogical formats, including lectures, interactive large-group discussions, case studies, and small group projects. The overall objective is to provide a practical approach for diagnosing the causes of disappointing health system performance, and devising implementable reforms to improve the level and equity of performance—in short, doing health reform better.
In the first three weeks of January 2024, a group of Harvard students and Mexican students will participate in the GHP Winter Session Course on the Mexican Health System. The course introduces participants to the history of Mexico’s health reform, Seguro Popular, and the ongoing major restructuring of the Mexican health system, which includes elimination of Seguro Popular and the creation of a new public system known as IMSS-Bienestar. The course will include a visit during the first week to a state where the new system is being implemented, with discussions at health facilities and with health leaders. Lectures and discussions during the second and third weeks will take place in Mexico City and will focus on critical aspects of the health system in Mexico and challenges of integration. The course provides students with a unique opportunity to examine the challenges in constructing an effective health system in the complex federal system of Mexico.