Quality Improvement - A Key for Health Systems Strengthening (7.5 ECTS, tropEd)

About this training

This course is offered twice a year, starting 1st of November and 1st of May.

The course aims at strengthening the capacity of professionals responsible for managing quality in health care settings at all levels in the health system. It consists of 7 content-related modules (see “Main Topics”) and one module where participants will elaborate a transfer project. The course will increase competencies for strategic decision making in managing quality, enhance skills in quality improvement mechanisms and build positive patient-centred attitudes. Participants will be introduced to current health system concepts, financing mechanisms, human resource methods and other key elements associated with improving quality at all levels of a health system. Participants will be exposed to examples of international and local quality problems, methods to identify improvement opportunities and various mechanisms for change management.

Quality Improvement 

Improving quality and patient safety in health systems around the world has been central to the work of our experts at the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health and at evaplan. We designed our online courses to share the knowledge we gathered in the field with professionals and students who want to build their capacities. Our fast track course in quality improvement is available in French in addition to English. 

Learning Objectives

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

  • Critically analyse the importance of QI in health systems
  • Analyse strengths and weaknesses of different regulatory and other mechanisms that influence QI in the health system
  • Use systems-thinking in QI activities at all levels of a health care system
  • Propose appropriate methods for monitoring and evaluating quality within a specific context
  • Formulate patient safety, patient-centered care and family/community engagement in QI initiatives within health systems
  • Demonstrate how appropriate human resource interventions contribute towards QI
  • Interpret how financial mechanisms impact the quality of services and the decision-making of patients and providers
  • Develop a QI initiative in a current health setting
  • MODULE 1: The importance of quality within a health system/country context
  • MODULE 2: Quality improvement strategies
  • MODULE 3: Basic principles of health systems thinking
  • MODULE 4: Basis concepts of QI Monitoring & Evaluation
  • MODULE 5: Patient Safety
  • MODULE 6: Health human resource management
  • MODULE 7: Quality and related financial concepts
  • MODULE 8: Transfer Project

During the six months course, the participants will be guided by an online tutor and supported by experts. Next to self-study activities, the learners will collaborate in small groups and communicate on the course learning platform.Participants’ achievement of the learning objectives will be assessed on:

  • 54% individual transfer project based on project template and project assessment criteria 2
  • 1% seven modular assessments
  • 25% multiple-choice final exam based on all learning objectives

Participants will be informed about all assessment processes at the beginning of the course.

 Course Experts

During the course, participants can engage directly with our experts, which include: Dr. Sylvia Sax, Dr. Irmgard Marx, Dr. Peter Campbell, Dr. Norma Lange-Tagaza, PD Dr. Svetla Loukanova and Prof. Dr. Michael Marx.

Dr Sylvia Sax is a Registered Nurse (University of Illinois) with a PhD in Global Health (University of Heidelberg) and more than 30 years’ experience internationally.  Her interest in education and healthcare improvement, strengthened through a Certificate in Adult Learning and a Master in Public Health (New Zealand), led her to work for 7 years as Coordinator of a Master in International Health. She led establishment of a programme of more than 17 short courses at the University of Heidelberg and was coordinator for 3 years of the TropEd accredited short course programme. She has advised on policy, led and undertaken large-scale evaluations and designed, led and facilitated training programs.

Dr Irmgard Marx is a medical doctor specialised in general medicine, tropical medicine and quality management. She is a certified Clinical Risk Manager, ISO-Auditor, European Practice Assessment (EPA) Assessor and EFQM Assessor and has 20 years of experience in the field of Quality Management, Patient Safety, Systemic Organisational Development and Human Resource Development in Germany and internationally. Irmgard is a lecturer at the Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg and has extensive experience in all aspects of capacity building including development of e-learning courses.

Dr Peter Campbell has 25-years’ experience as an international Public Health specialist. He is educated as a Family Physician, has a Masters in International Health and a certificate in Post-Graduate Medical Education. Academically, for the past 10-years he has worked for the University of Heidelberg and for the Charité, Berlin as Course-Coordinator/ Lecturer/ Thesis Supervisor/ Examiner on Masters courses including Quality Management, Health Economics/ Health Financing, and Consultancy Skills.

Dr Norma Lange-Tagaza is a Filipino-born German national doing consultancy in the areas of health, education, intercultural and international management, and development cooperation. As a Trainer, Executive Coach and Organizational Development Consultant, she brings to her work a passion for capacity development of individuals, teams and organizations using the methodologies of training, coaching and process consulting. Her topics include intercultural communication, leadership and change, conflict management and negotiation. Her training courses are theory-based, practice-oriented and client-focused and she uses a blended learning and interactive approaches. A Gestalt-trained coach and organizational development consultant, she supports the client system’s awareness, thereby enabling it to enlarge and deepen its way of thinking and doing things.

Requirements and Admission


The course is open to public health professionals, quality managers, medical and paramedical staff, tropEd students, global health consultants, Ministries, development partners.


The course is held in English; Excellent command/high level of proficiency in reading, writing and speaking English is required; Regular access to a computer with access to Internet, email identification.


6 months (225hrs - student module input 100.5 h, group work 36 h, independent study 88.5 h)

7.5 ECTS  & tropEd accreditation


General Admission and tropEd students € 2,000