PHH3072 - Health policy and politics - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

South Africa School of Health Sciences


Dr Samson Muyanga

Unit guides


South Africa

  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


In this unit, students will examine the political foundations of health promotion and public health policies in South Africa or any other country, different types of health policy, policy development processes and theories that underpin them. Interest groups and the challenges they pose to decision-making processes will be discussed. The social and political impacts of health policy will be explored, as well as the jurisdictional responsibilities held by different levels of government for health policies. Concepts of power, authority and influence will be discussed. Students will learn critical skills for policy analysis in the context of case studies of effective advocacy that have influenced policy change in South Africa or any other country.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. develop an understanding of health policy as a key dynamic element of the determinants of health, with effects on the health of populations and societies;
  2. identify the structures, systems and institutions that contribute to the South African or any country's health policy environment with emphasis on health promotion and public health policy;
  3. critically engage with a range of public policy issues and policy processes;
  4. discuss types of health policy within the context of jurisdictions which hold responsibility for them;
  5. explain the role of government and their agencies, NGOs and the community in the development and implementation of health policy;
  6. distinguish types of power and how they are used by interest groups and individuals in policy development; and
  7. use policy analysis skills to critique existing policy using a case study approach.


  • Group presentation (20 minutes) (25%)
  • Individual case study essay (1,500 words) (25%)
  • Research essay (2,500 words) (50%) (Hurdle)

Hurdle: 80% attendance at tutorials.

Workload requirements

3 contact hours per week Plus 9 hours private study per week.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Health science


HSC1052 or PHH1052.