Strategic Management of Health Systems (MAN)

Important notice: the structure of this short course is being reviewed. Soon new short courses will be published and opened for application. The description below, although it gives an indication, is no longer valid.
The Short Course in Strategic Management of Health Systems is a 7-week course for professionals working in local health systems management positions, hospitals, and publicly-oriented NGOs, or in health programmes.
The aim of this course is to empower participants to play an active role in the development of health systems in low and middle income countries. The starting point of the course is that health systems and health organisations are complex social systems. Their performance is determined by the interaction between different actors, (sub-)systems and context.
At the core of the course lies a strategic management framework that focuses on the dynamic interaction between service delivery, goals to achieve, the environment and the values that guide the decisions. This framework facilitates problem analysis, solution analysis, implementation and evaluation.

Mode of study

This course (component) is organized :
- Face-to-face (Antwerpen)

Learning Objectives

Assess the performance of a specific health organisation (HO). This includes the ability to:
  • Analyse the complex nature of the performance of public-oriented health systems
  • Describe the key elements of a strategic management approach to publicly-oriented health organisation
  • Use tools to analyse the role of the principal actors in a HO as well as their objectives and values, the organisational culture and structure of the HO, the power dynamics, and its context
  • Use appropriate tools and frameworks to assess the performance of a HO
Develop and implement management strategies to improve the performance of a HO. This includes the ability to:
  • Develop a context-specific strategy based on a performance analysis, and complemented by a review of the available scientific evidence
  • Plan participative strategic decision-making processes
  • Critically reflect on one’s personal leadership style
  • Explain the strategic use of financial and human resources, of quality and knowledge management approaches and skills in the implementation of the proposed strategies


A personal assignment paces the course programme and allows the participants to strengthen skills of performance analysis and evaluation, and of strategy development. It takes the personal experience of the participant as a starting point and all analytical tasks required for this assignment will therefore result from the personal context of the participant.
The assignment consists of two phases:
Phase 1 - Performance evaluation and problem analysis
During this phase of the personal assignment, the participants starts by identifying his organisation and its actors, describing the context, and analysing the organisational structure and culture.
Phase 2 - Solution analysis & strategy development
This phase allows the participant to identify solutions from a strategy analysis, and to develop and action plan, which will be presented during a strategic seminar.
The content of the course is programmed in function of the assignment and is organised in 5 themes:
Theme 1 – Introduction to strategic management of health organisations
This theme covers the principles of complexity, of leadership and strategic management, multipolar performance and power.
Theme 2 – Mapping health organisations
This theme presents the tools and methods required for an organisational analysis of structure and culture, and for the identification of stakeholders and the context analysis.
Theme 3 – Assessing performance
The framework of multipolar performance is applied with examples and group exercises in class.
Theme 4 – Making strategic choices
This theme introduces a few models of decision-making and of strategic development, and presents a number of case studies.
Theme 5 – Managing change
The last theme covers quality management, workforce management, financial management and knowledge management.

Teaching and learning methods

The course uses established methods for adult learning, which emphasize a participatory approach to learning. Teaching consists of interactive lectures, small group sessions followed by plenary presentations and discussion, coached individual work and seminar presentations linked to personal assignments . In addition, personal work is required for preparatory and further reading and for the personal assignments. Exchange of experience, case studies, comparison and discussion are essential in the learning process. All teaching material, including theme-specific readers are distributed via an online platform.


The assessment is based on the two phases of the personal assignment: the performance evaluation and problem analysis presented during an analytical seminar and the solution analysis & strategy development presented during the strategic seminar.
The grade for the analytical seminar represents 40 % of the final score. The grade for the strategic seminar represents 60% of the final grade.
In case of failure one re-sit is allowed.  

Admission requirements

This course is intended for health professionals involved in the management of local health systems, hospitals and publicly-oriented NGOs or health programmes. Researchers working in one of these fields are also eligible.
Admission criteria are:
  • A university degree in health sciences or a professional bachelor in nursing sciences.
  • A minimum of 2 years of relevant experience in health systems management or health organisations in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Proficiency in the course language: candidates who are not native speakers of the course language or whose language of instruction during higher education is not the same as the course language, must provide proof of language proficiency by a certificate from a recognized institution. Required level for English: TOEFL paper-based 580, computer-based 230, Internet-based 88 or IELTS 6.5.

Selection criteria

  • Number of years and relevance of professional experience
  • Academic record (grades)
  • Motivation
  • References
  • Relevant additional training (a degree of Master in Public Health or equivalent is an asset) 


This course (component) is accredited by :


Course Leader: Bruno Marchal
Coordinator (s): Marlon Garcia Lopez
Secretary: Nadine Nuyts
Tel: +32(0)32476309


The course study load is equivalent to 10 ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer and accumulation System credits).