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Infectious diseases are no longer confined to specific regions, or even continents. When an avian flu epidemic breaks out in China, governments and scientists in Western Europe and South America worry - and with good reason. With the expansion of international traffic and globalisation, diseases have likewise become worldwide in scope. Globalisation has also resulted in increased migration of medical staff and widespread distribution of medical technology. Paradoxically, this development has led to growing global inequality in the area of healthcare.

How can we address these problems in an effective manner, and how can we set up adequate healthcare, particularly in places where this is proving next to impossible?

These questions formed the impetus for the foundation of the University of Amsterdam's Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD).