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In the presence of Prince Friso and Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau, the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD) was officially launched on Wednesday 7 October.

In the presence of Prince Friso and Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau, the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD) was officially launched on Wednesday 7 October. The launch was held in the Auditorium of the University of Amsterdam. The AIGHD will work on finding sustainable solutions to global health problems, with its main aim being to stimulate healthcare in developing countries and to monitor whether local populations actually benefit from the various projects underway in their countries. Unlike other institutes, the AIGHD directly links research to practice in the field. The institute is a collaborative partnership between departments at AMC, UvA and VU Amsterdam University and a number of organisations active in development cooperation.

The launch was opened by the Mayor of Amsterdam Job Cohen. He was followed by a number of speakers. Prof. Joep Lange, director of the new institute, introduced the AIGHD. Babatunde Osotimehin, Nigeria's minister of public health, talked about improving first-line healthcare. Peter Piot, director of the Institute for Global Health of Imperial College London, examined the shifting character of the response to Aids. In her speech, Helen Rees of the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa) focused on how best to approach young people in order to stop the spread of Aids. Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (Geneva), discussed new mechanisms for financing healthcare in regions with limited resources. A panel discussion, in which a number of international experts took part, examined the needs of Africa. As part of the AIGHD launch, a symposium entitled Health and Development was held in the AMC prior to the gathering in the UvA's Auditorium.

Background

Infectious diseases are no longer limited to specific regions or even continents. An outbreak of bird flu in China is cause for concern in Western Europe or South America, and justly so. Diseases have spread around the world on the back of international traffic and globalisation. In addition, globalisation has resulted in increasing migration of medical staff and the widespread distribution of medical technology, accompanied paradoxically by a growing inequality in the level of health care offered in the various different countries. How should these problems be tackled? And how can effective healthcare be organised, including in those places where doing so is nearly impossible. The search for answers to these questions resulted in the establishment of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD). The institute is headed by Prof. Joep Lange, Aids expert and professor of Internal Medicine, particularly viral infections, at the UvA (AMC-UvA).