The primary purpose of this intensive executive short course, based on the book published by Professor Blanchet Applied Systems Thinking for Health Systems Research is to familiarize participants with a health systems approach to healthcare for communities in low and middle countries affected by humanitarian crises, through practical interactive examples and case studies, and taught by experts with humanitarian expertise in low and middle income countries during or after humanitarian crises.

This is the only course specifically focused on health system assessment in humanitarian crises and built on the latest available evidence.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Define concepts related to health systems and the six building blocks of the WHO framework.
  • Assess the main characteristics of humanitarian health interventions (facility-based, outreach, community-based activities, horizontal versus vertical) and relate to it health system challenges in various areas: financing, human resources, health information system, governance, service delivery, and technology.
  • Apply the health system assessment guideline tool in order to translate a local situation analysis into concrete humanitarian interventions.

A printable “course-at-a-glance” document with more detailed information about the course and its programme is available here.

  • Introduction to health systems, system thinking, the role of governance, and the Health Systems Assessment tool
  • Health service delivery and quality
  • Health workforce, health technologies, and health information systems
  • Health systems financing
  • Presentation of the Health System Assessment using a real-life case study



Around 50 hours of work for the whole course, including:

  • 30 hours of face-to-face teaching through a mixture of interactive lectures, case studies, discussions, and group and individual exercises.
  • 20 hours of self-study time including reading, writing and group interactions
  • Professionals in the humanitarian, development or social sector looking to develop their competencies as well as reflect and capitalise on their experiences.
  • Professionals from other sectors who wish to increase their understanding of the humanitarian sector for a potential career change.
  • Graduate students with relevant volunteer or intern experience, looking to undertake a post-graduate course with a view to entering the humanitarian sector.

The course is specifically intended for policy makers, UN staff, NGO coordinators and health service managers working in low and middle-income countries affected by humanitarian crises or intending to work in this field in the near future.

  • Prof. Karl Blanchet Prof. Karl Blanchet Designation: Director & Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva

Admission requirements:

  1. a university qualification (bachelor’s degree or equivalent);
  2. at least three years of relevant professional experience;
  3. excellent command of English;
  4. motivation working in the humanitarian sector.


Documents required:

  • CV (Résumé)
  • Copy of your highest diploma
  • Work certificate or official document of your current job position
  • Scanned copy of passport.


More information about the admission process is available on our application page.



As a Centre which prides itself on being agile, it is with pleasure that we can announce that all our upcoming short courses in 2021 will be available to online and residential students. We are adapting not only to the current global challenges linked to COVID19, but also to the increasing aim to make our courses as inclusive as possible by making more available online.
  • participants can choose either a residential or online option
  • participants inside Europe can choose residential, but they have to follow the sanitary restrictions when they travel to Switzerland (PCR test or quarantine)
  • participants outside of Europe need to choose online (no visas are available at the moment)
  • Participants should expect approximately four hours of live sessions per day – they will be scheduled between 9am – 4pm Geneva time (the exact schedule will be communicated 10 days before the course)
  • All live lecture sessions will bring online and residential participants together (both groups combined)
  • Break out groups online (for online students)
  • Break out groups face to face (for residential students)
  • Other material (videos, readings etc.) available online
  • Health System Assessment in Humanitarian CrisesDates 21 - 25 June, 2021
  • Health System Assessment in Humanitarian CrisesDuration One week
  • Health System Assessment in Humanitarian CrisesLocation Online or Geneva
  • Health System Assessment in Humanitarian CrisesLanguage English
  • Health System Assessment in Humanitarian CrisesCREDITS 2 ECTS
  • Fee CHF 1'500
  • Application Deadline 2 weeks before the start of the course. For candidates who need a VISA: 6 weeks before the start of the course.