Transferring Health Economics skills to empower academia and health services in Zambia.


Here at Learna, we are always pleased to keep in touch with our graduates around the world. Today we have been catching up with our Health Economics graduate, Buddug Nelson on how she has been able to use the skills gained from our online course to aid health services in Zambia.

I write this from a very sunny and hot Lusaka, Zambia. I recently completed my master’s in applied health economics. The drive I found to partake in and complete the online course stemmed from my desire to enhance the depth of Zambia’s health service and system.

Decisions surrounding health in Sub-Saharan African countries such as Zambia have relied on clinical information and research. While these have been invaluable, the world realises that our precious resources are under threat from climate change and our inability to fully understand that today’s decisions will have an effect tomorrow. Resources are scarce and the need to have a sustainable model for all we do is crucial.

I am looking forward to developing discussions on incorporating health economic components within the medical and nursing curriculums, and even stand-alone courses on health economics. I am also looking forward to hearing from health economists within Zambia, that are working on research programmes or even the Ministry of Health, to see how their skills can be broadened to eventually move towards a Health Technology Assessment approach. Thus, would need greater strengthening of universal health coverage and health financing. If we incorporate a greater number of skilled health economists, the question arises, where should these key personnel work from? Are they best placed in the planning, policy, research or promotional departments? Or should we have a system where the expertise is practiced in all aspects of the health service and system? Should we have the skills at a community, district or provincial level? And then feed the initial assessments into a HTA country level?

As we all adapt to the new normal, the pandemic has challenged existing systems and services, asking key questions on the resilience of the old normal, and forcing us to focus on building back better. Health economists will provide a key role in allowing the systems and services to provide cost-effectiveness as well as clinical effectiveness in decision making in Zambia. I want to be part of the drive to develop HTA’s within the SSA region.

Bulawayo, M., Silumbwe, A., Munakampe, M.N. et al. A needs assessment for postgraduate training in selected public health disciplines: evidence from health services organisations in Lusaka, Zambia. BMC Health Serv Res 20, 1079 (2020).

Why study Applied Health Economics with Learna?

Our online Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Health Economics enables students to be well equipped to elicit the maximum value from finite budgets. This part time diploma or master's helps students understand why applied health economics has and should become integral to healthcare decision making as well as gaining a solid working knowledge of the underlying principles, methodologies, and processes associated with this established and growing international discipline.

There are no lectures, no seminars and no set times, so you can study flexibly wherever you are in the world, whenever you want.

Our distance learning applied health economics courses follow the principles of self directed learning, with teaching taking place primarily on our academic forum where students can respond to scenario based questions and discussions. To learn more about our unique teaching methods, read our blog on reflective journaling.

Want to find out more about our online medical courses?

All of the information you need to know about our online Postgraduate Diploma and MSc in Applied Health Economics, including entry requirements, module content, assessment methods and prices can be found on our website

You can also book a call with our admissions team to discuss any questions you may have before, during, or after completing your application.

We have two intakes for our medical education courses per year, one in March and one in September. Places are limited and this is one of our most sought after courses, so apply early to secure your place.