Affiliation: University of Basel
The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), former Swiss Tropical Institute (STI), has been founded in 1943. It has research and teaching activities in the arear of international health development. In June 2009 the Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine of the University of Basel, active in the areas of environmental epidemiology and women’s health, was integrated into the Swiss TPH.
Today over 500 employees from 40 nations work worldwide for the Swiss TPH in research, teaching and services with the main goal to contribute to health development worldwide.
As an associate institute of the University of Basel, the Swiss TPH takes part in teaching within various faculties, as well as is engaged in post-graduate education and advanced training on national and international levels.
The Swiss TPH receives 81% of its income through competitive fundraising and the earnings of our service departments. The remaining budget is given by the Basel cantons and the Swiss federal government.
Pascale Vonaesch, Scientific Project Leader at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), was awarded a prestigious Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship grant of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The grant will allow Vonaesch to pursue her research in childhood nutrition and health.
The COVCO-Basel study is assessing the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the population of the cantons Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft. A bus now brings the study team closer to the participants and allows antibody testing on site in their villages. The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) is in the lead of the COVCO-Basel study that is part of the Swiss research programme Corona Immunitas.
Post-exposure prophylaxis with a single dose of the antibiotic rifampicin is safe, can be integrated into different leprosy control programmes, and is generally well accepted by patients, their contacts, and healthcare workers. These are the results of the Leprosy Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (LPEP) programme published yesterday in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet Global Health. The Novartis Foundation-initiated programme covered more than 150,000 people across seven countries. Swiss TPH contributed to LPEP through monitoring and quality control, protocol development and data analysis.
Insecticide-treated bed nets are the most widely adopted preventive measure against malaria, and represent an effective form of prevention for at-risk populations. A project by Swiss TPH and partners evaluated the durability of different bed nets and found that those with more robust fabrics have a longer life-span, and could save nearly 20% of costs associated with purchasing bed nets each year.
TIGER is an project between France, Germany and Switzerland to support the cross-border monitoring and control of the Asian tiger mosquito in the Upper Rhine region. On 13 November, Swiss TPH hosted a one-day virtual symposium, where the project team, consisting of Swiss TPH and partners, presented on the current situation of the spread of the tiger mosquito in the region, as well as the project results from the past three years.
Children living in agricultural areas are likely to be exposed to a variety of pesticides during their daily lives, which may impair their neurodevelopment. The most vulnerable populations are families and farmworkers in lowand middle-income countries. In a study published in Environment International by Swiss TPH and partners at the University of Cape Town, researchers found that children in South Africa who engage in pesticide-related farm activities often have more headaches and possibly lower cognitive performance.
The governments of the cantons of Basel-Landschaft and Basel-Stadt have increased their annual funding to the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) from a joint amount of CHF 7.26 million per year to CHF 8 million. The total amount of CHF 32 million over the next 4 years will contribute to improving public and global health through excellence in research, education and services.
HIV continues to be a major global health issue, with 1.7 million new infections in 2019 alone. In Africa, a part of the world that shoulders most of the HIV burden, home-based HIV testing is a promising solution to address the HIV epidemic. In two recent studies published in The Lancet HIV and the Journal of International AIDS Society, Swiss TPH and partners found that HIV self-tests during home-based testing campaigns significantly increased people's awareness of their HIV status, particularly in the most remote regions.
HIV continues to be a major global health issue, having claimed almost 33 million lives. In a new study published today in PLOS Medicine, Swiss TPH researchers and partners assessed if patients with a persisting low HIV viral load while taking first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) benefited from switching to second-line ART. Findings show that switching patients resulted in a higher proportion of viral suppression, thus encouraging that the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines lower the current viral load threshold.
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