In times of increasing global challenges to health, it is crucial to create a workforce capable of tackling these complex issues. Even though a lack of GHE in Germany is perceived by multiple stakeholders, no systematic analysis of the current landscape exists. The aim of this study is to provide an analysis of the global health education (GHE) capacity in Germany as well as to identify gaps, barriers and future strategies.
An online search in combination with information provided by student representatives, course coordinators and lecturers was used to create an overview of the current GHE landscape in Germany. Additionally, a semi-structured questionnaire was sent to GHE educators and students engaged in global health (GH) to assess the capacity of German GHE, its barriers and suggested strategies for the future.
A total of 33 GHE activities were identified at 18 German universities. Even though medical schools are the main provider of GHE (42%), out of 38 medical schools, only 13 (34%) offer any kind of GHE. Modules offered for students of other health-related professions constitute 27% of all activities. Most survey respondents (92%, n = 48) consider current GHE activities in Germany insufficient. Suggested formats were GHE as part of medical curricula (82%, n = 45) and dual degree MD/MPH or PhD programs. Most important barriers mentioned were low priority of GH at faculties and academic management levels (n = 41, 75%) as well as lack of necessary institutional structures (n = 33, 60%).
Despite some innovative academic approaches, there is clearly a need for more systematic GHE in Germany. GHE educators and students can take an important role advocating for more awareness at university management level and suggesting ways to institutionalize GHE to overcome barriers. This study provides key evidence, relevant perceptions and suggestions to strengthen GHE in Germany.
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