Excellence in Global Health

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Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute Excellence in Global Health

Content Preface


At a Glance


Facts & Figures


Strategic Topics


Our Approach


Project Highlights


Services We Offer


Study with Us




The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute ( Swiss TPH ) is a world-leading institute in global health with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries. Associated with the University of Basel, Swiss TPH combines research, education and services at local, national and international levels. 900 people from 80 nations work at Swiss TPH focusing on infectious and non-communicable diseases, environment, society and health as well as health systems and interventions. Since 2022, Swiss TPH’s new headquarters is located in Allschwil in close proximity to Basel.

Imprint Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute ( Swiss TPH ) Kreuzstrasse 2 CH-4123 Allschwil Switzerland

Text and edits : Layla Hasler Pictures : Joachim Pelikan, Danielle Powell, Justin Makangara/Fairpicture, DK Lee/DNDi, Junior Diatezua Kannah/DNDi, Bevis Fusha/MoHSP, Olivier Brandenberg Cover picture : Joachim Pelikan Design : Neeser & Müller GmbH, Basel Printing : Gremper AG, Basel Copyright : Swiss TPH, 2022

Committed to Excellence in Global Health “ Together, we can make the world a healthier place.” Founded 80 years ago, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute ( Swiss TPH ) is more than ever dedicated to its mission of improving the health and well-being of people – locally, nationally and internationally – through excellence in research, education and services. Our scope of activities has grown in an ever-changing world that poses new challenges to global health – most recently the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2022, Swiss TPH operates from its new headquarters “ Belo Horizonte ” in Allschwil in a dynamic new life science and biotech hub with research institutes, start-ups and private companies that offers new opportunities for collaboration and innovation to tackle some of the most pressing global health issues. With our unique approach, from innovation and validation to application, we bring research from the bench to the field. We provide health solutions to the people, help strengthen health systems and support policy-makers with evidence. At the heart of our success lies the commitment and passion of our staff and students, and our deeply rooted partnerships. Together, we can make the world a healthier place.

Prof. Dr. Jürg Utzinger, Director, Swiss TPH



Making the World a Healthier Place Swiss TPH is a world-leading institute in global health, with a particular focus on low- and middleincome countries. Research, education and services

Broad expertise

By uniquely combining research, education and services, we aim to improve the health and well-being of people through a better understanding of disease and health systems and by acting on this knowledge.

900 employees and students work at Swiss TPH, focusing on infectious and non-communicable diseases, environment, society and health as well as health systems and interventions. Our expertise spans from the bench to the field, from basic to operational, from Innovation → Validation molecular → Application From science to impact to spatial, and from genes to health systems. We treasure partnership, constantly go the extra mile Our translational approach, from innovation and valand contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. idation to application, enables us to bring novel diagnostics, drugs and vaccines directly to people, communities, policy and decision makers. Throughout, we pursue a spirit of partnership and strive for sustainable impact in over 130 countries.

Five departments of Swiss TPH work across three fields – research, education and services – to improve health globally Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology ( MPI )

Epidemiology and Public Health ( EPH )






S er


MED provides clinical and diagnostic services for travellers and conducts clinical research in lowresource settings.


io n

Improving Health

Medicine ( MED )

EPH studies health and diseases in relation to their social, ecological and genetic determinants.





MPI studies diseases of poverty and develops diagnostics, drugs and vaccines to combat them.


Education and Training ( ET ) ET offers local, national and international training programmes and courses at graduate and postgraduate levels.

Swiss Centre for International Health ( SCIH ) SCIH provides policy advice, project design and management in the area of public and global health.

At A Glance


Key Figures Together with our partners, we currently work on 262 projects in 133 countries. Swiss TPH has 907 employees from 82 nations. 698 are based in our headquarters in Switzerland and 209 are based abroad. We have 25 local offices in different countries. 52 % of our staff are women.

907 employees at Swiss TPH


nations represented at Swiss TPH


projects to improve people's health

≥ 10 projects ≥ 5 projects ≥ 1 project Swiss TPH offices


Facts & Figures


countries in which we work


employees based in Switzerland


employees based abroad

48 % of our staff are men

52 % of our staff are women

Facts & Figures


Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals 17

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs ) provides a compass to tackle the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate and health.



13 14

1 2

10 9 8 6

Swiss TPH is committed to the achievement of the SDGs, placing particular emphasis on SDG 3 “ Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages ” and Universal Health Coverage ( UHC ). With our research projects and service mandates, we ultimately contribute to 14 of the 17 SDGs.




Scientific output : 579 peer-reviewed publications in 2021 Public, Environmental & Occupational Health Infectious Diseases Tropical Medicine Parasitology Environmental Sciences & Ecology Microbiology Pharmacology & Pharmacy Science & Technology Health Care Sciences & Services Immunology General & Internal Medicine Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Chemistry Research & Experimental Medicine Other Topics

Distribution of “ research areas ” of Swiss TPH publications in 2021 according to Web of Science ( accessed : February 2022 )


Facts & Figures

Funding 2020 *New building “Belo Horizonte” Core funding

Other income

( Swiss government, cantons of Basel-Stadt & Basel-Landschaft and University of Basel )

Medical Services ( e.g. travel medicine & diagnostics )

Education and Training ( e.g. postgraduate courses )

CHF 91.3 Mio.



( e.g. SNSF and EU )

( e.g. for SDC, Global Fund and BMGF )

Competitively acquired 67.4 % Core contributions 21.7 %

*Recognition of deferred income

Selected funding partners and clients → → → → → → → → → → → → → → → → →

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ( BMGF ) Botnar Research Center for Child Health ( BRCCH ) Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative ( DNDi ) Eckenstein-Geigy Foundation European Commission ( EU ) Fondation Botnar Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Global Fund Medicines for Malaria Venture ( MMV ) Merck Novartis R. Geigy-Foundation Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation ( SDC ) Swiss National Science Foundation ( SNSF ) Unitaid World Bank

For the full list, please visit : www.swisstph.ch/partners Facts & Figures




A → Around 700 employees now work under one roof in the new headquarters, which enables new forms of interdisciplinary collaboration between the areas of research, education and services. B → The multifunctional building, designed by Basel architects Kunz and Mösch, offers 725 modern workplaces and 150 laboratory places on an area of around 13,000 m². C → The building “Belo Horizonte” is located in a dynamic new life science and biotech hub in Allschwil in close proximity to Basel.


Strategic Topics Our mission is to make the world a healthier place. For 80 years, we have grown and developed our activities and strengthened our partnerships around the world. The diverse portfolio of projects and activities at Swiss TPH are grouped into eight Strategic Topics ( STOs ). In each STO, we work across departments and along our value chain, from innovation and valida-

STO-1 Infection Biology and Molecular Epidemiology Generating new insight into the biology and molecular epidemiology of poverty-related infectious diseases.

STO-2 Diagnostics, Vector Control, Vaccines and New Drugs Developing, validating and applying drugs, diagnostics, vaccines, vector control measures and computational tools for the improvement of global health.

STO-3 Personalised and Digital Health Defining markers for disease control and surveillance and conducting research using cohorts and biobanks by means of longitudinal characterisation of participants.

STO-4 Environment and Health Improving the health and well-being of people by addressing determinants of health in humanenvironmental systems.


Strategic Topics

tion to application, to improve health on a global scale. The STOs reflect key emerging issues in global health and are linked to the Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs ).

STO-5 Society and Civic Engagement Striving for social justice in health and engaging with people in the process.

STO-6 Health Systems and Interventions Translating evidence and strengthening health systems and policies.

STO-7 Mobility, Migration and Outbreak Investigation Assessing the healthcare needs in mobile populations, internally displaced people and international refugees, while maintaining an institutional expert group for outbreak investigation.

STO-8 Statistical and Mathematical Modelling Generating evidence on disease and health through the development and application of computational, statistical and mathematical modelling of biological disease and epidemi­ological data.

“ I am very motivated to serve my community as a pediatrician in the hospital of Kisantu. We live in an area where malaria is endemic and poses a major threat for small children. My hopes lie in the results of a study conducted by Swiss TPH for a new treatment of malaria for newborn babies and infants.” Calvin Luyeye, Medical doctor, Kisantu, Democratic Republic of the Congo ( DRC )

“ My team and I work in the field of clinical immunology in infectious diseases. We thrive to understand what constitutes a protective immune response against malaria, but also tuberculosis and HIV. Innovative, efficacious vaccines would close essential gaps in the fight against these major public health problems.” Claudia Daubenberger, Head of the Clinical Immunology unit, Swiss TPH

From Innovation and Validation to Application Throughout all of its activities, Swiss TPH works across a value-chain, from innovation and validation to application. Innovations such as new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines or approaches and tools are validated in realworld settings and finally applied and integrated into health systems and policies.

Innovation → Validation → Application

Discover novel diagnostics, drugs and vaccines and develop new approaches and tools

Generate evidence under real-world conditions, using the highest ethical, scientific and technical standards

Integrate new treatments and approaches into policy and health systems

Our Approach


Project Highlight

Developing new drugs to fight parasitic worms Hosting the WHO Collaborating Centre for Epidemiology and Control of Helminth Infections, Swiss TPH is one of the world’s leading institutions in researching novel treatments and conducting clinical trials in the field of parasitic worm infections.

Swiss TPH and partners develop new drugs against parasitic worm infections.


Project Highlights

Yombe waterfall in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The inhabitants nearby say that there are blackflies in this area, which transmit river blindness.

Parasitic worm infections, known as helminthiases, are a major public health problem in many tropical and subtropical low-income communities. River blindness and soil-transmitted helminth infections affect more than 1.5 billion people worldwide. The limitations of current treatments and increasing drug resistance pose great challenges and drive the need for new treatments. However, no new drugs have been approved for human use for more than 20 years.

Bolstering the empty drug pipeline To address this issue, the Helminth Elimination Platform ( HELP ) – a public-private consortium led by Swiss TPH with partners from research institutes, universities, not-for-profit organisations and pharmaceutical companies was launched to speed up the identification of new treatments and establish a muchneeded drug pipeline for worm-related diseases.

Debilitating river blindness

larvae that move to the skin, eyes and other organs and cause symptoms such as severe itching, disfiguring skin changes and eye lesion that can lead to blindness.

Veterinary drug as a potential for human use The current treatment for river blindness is ivermectin. However, the drug only kills the larvae, not the adult worms, and these can survive for more than ten years in the human body. Oxfendazole, a veterinary drug used for deworming in animals, has been identified as a potential treatment for river blindness targeting adult worms and has shown highly encouraging pre-clinical data.

Testing promising drug in clinical trials in Tanzania Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, Swiss TPH is conducting a phase I clinical study in Tanzania to evaluate safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of oxfendazole in tablet form. The aim is to find a suitable formulation so that a product adapted to the local conditions can be made available for clinical use in affected regions.

River blindness belongs to the neglected tropical diseases – 99 % of infected people live in sub-Saharan Africa. People are infected with a parasitic worm that is transmitted by blackflies, which breed along fast-flowing streams and rivers. The worms produce → www.eliminateworms.org

Project Highlights


Project Highlight

Joining Forces to End the COVID-19 Pandemic Swiss TPH is making an important contribution to deepening the understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and the longer-term consequences of the pandemic. We assisted with public health responses to the pandemic in Switzerland and around the world.

The blood samples are processed in the laboratory.


Project Highlights

A study nurse of the COVCO-Basel team taking blood samples from a participant for the antibody test.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Swiss TPH was involved in 32 projects related to SARS-CoV-2 in 37 different countries on topics such as epidemiological and clinical research, modelling and health systems and policy. One example is the COVCO-Basel study. As part of the Swiss national research programme Corona Immunitas, we investigated the spread and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by testing the antibody status of the study participants in the Basel region of Switzerland. Beyond this, COVCO-Basel is particularly looking at the impact of the pandemic and the containment measures on mental health and well-being.

The long-term effects of the pandemic By the end of 2021, COVCO-Basel had 13,000 study participants. Results have shown that people coming from low-income households were more severely affected by the pandemic, and that rates of depression rose among this population group. The study observed that these individuals were exhibiting symptoms of depression early on in the pandemic, which further worsened over time. COVCO-Basel will continue to assess the course of well-being and mental health of the local population.

Assessing environmental determinants on health COVCO-Basel was designed as a long-term study to investigate the influence of the environment, for example the urban environment, on health and well-being. Going forward, the study plans to include health examinations, biosampling and environmental measurements ( e.g. residential greenspace, air pollution, noise and temperature ). COVCO-Basel also provides decision-makers with evidence to create a quality living environment for the people of Basel. → www.covcobasel.ch

Other examples of our COVID-19 response → A new mathematical model was developed to provide decision-makers with quantitative evidence to support pandemic response measures in Switzerland and abroad → Within existing projects in Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, activities supported COVID-19 relief efforts, including the creation of a national call centre and training and equipment of healthcare workers → Swiss TPH supported Equatorial Guinea in establishing a diagnostic laboratory to test for SARS-CoV-2. → Swiss TPH experts contributed to the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Taskforce

Project Highlights


Project Highlight

Improving primary healthcare services in Albania Strong primary health care ( PHC ) can address up to 90 % of a population’s health needs by providing access to high-quality services. Swiss TPH works to strengthen PHC through capacity building and patient-centered quality of care as well as by engaging communities.

1,500 family doctors and nurses in Albania are now equipped with appropriate medical tools, including clinical guidelines for common conditions.


Project Highlights

Thanks to the project, more than 450,000 people including the youngest receive better healthcare in 80 health facilities in Albania.

In Albania, for instance, Swiss TPH works to improve primary healthcare services to provide better quality of care and strengthen the health system.

shown that within the first phase of the project, the quality of care and patient satisfaction as well as the infrastructure of the health care facilities has substantially improved.

Decreasing the burden of NCDs Despite encouraging economic developments in Albania in recent years, the health sector has been facing many challenges, including the management and financing of health services, training of health workers and bringing effective treatments to patients who need it most. At the same time, the country is facing an increasing burden of non-communicable diseases ( NCDs ) such as diabetes or hypertension, which need to be addressed more effectively. To address these challenges, the “ Health for All ” project of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation ( SDC ), implemented by Swiss TPH and partners since 2015, aims to enhance health in Albania by improving primary healthcare services and health promotion activities.

More than 450,000 people receive better healthcare in 80 health facilities, which is attributed to renovations throughout the project, the training of all health managers at the facilities and more than 1,500 family doctors and nurses who are now equipped with appropriate medical tools, including clinical guidelines for common conditions.

Reducing inequalities The ultimate aim is to anchor the innovations introduced in the health system to ensure sustainability beyond the end of the project in 2023. Throughout our activities to improve access to quality healthcare, the project ultimately contributes to the reduction of inequalities and to universal health coverage.

Innovative approaches such as new appointment systems for patients and home care for elderly persons → www.hap.org.al in rural areas have successfully been introduced.

First measurable improvements The quality of care at primary health care level was assessed for two regions of Albania. Results have

Project Highlights


Services We Offer For travelers

For medical doctors, hospitals and laboratories

14,000 pre-travel medical consultations, 1,500 post-travel consultations and numerous telephone travel consultations annually – our Centre for Tropical and Travel Medicine is a national centre of competence.

Our Diagnostic Centre is specialised in diagnosis of infectious tropical diseases. The laboratory has an internationally recognised expertise in parasitic infections and was nominated as the Swiss National Reference Centre for Imported Parasitic Diseases.

→ www.swisstph.ch/travelclinic

Vaccinations and medical consultations

Clinical trials and studies

→ www.swisstph.ch/diagnostic-centre

Diagnostic services

Consultancy and project implementation For clinical trial sponsors Swiss TPH conducts clinical trials for drugs, diagnostics and vaccines to improve access, quality and cost-effectiveness of healthcare globally. → www.swisstph.ch/clinical-trials

For clients and funding agencies Through the Swiss Centre for International Health ( SCIH ), Swiss TPH provides consultancy and project implementation, project design and management in public and global health. → www.swisstph.ch/scih


Services We Offer



A → Swiss TPH brings together people and cultures from all around the world who share their knowledge and experience across disciplines. B → Swiss TPH is characterised by a great diversity of students, with over 80 nations represented in our courses. C → At the heart of our success lies the commitment and passion of our staff, students and partners.


Study with Us As an associated institute of the University of Basel, Swiss TPH offers undergraduate, master, PhD and postgraduate programmes, trainings and short courses. Topics range from epidemiology, infection biology, international health to public health and health care and management. Mutual learning for sustainable development Lecturers and participants come from all around the world to share their knowledge across disciplines and cultures. They become part of an extensive network that lasts beyond the duration of a course or programme. Our alumni are researchers, healthcare providers and future leaders in global health. Together, they can help shape a healthier, more sustainable future.

Professional postgraduate courses

Cultural, age and disciplinary diversity Global community Over 80 nations represented annually

Students and course participants per year 620 postgraduate students 180 PhD students 40 Master students

We offer 45 different postgraduate courses, including :

→ → → →

MAS in International Health MBA in International Health Management DAS Health Care and Management CAS Internationale Zusammenarbeit und Globale Gesundheit

For the full list of our course offerings, please visit : → www.swisstph.ch/study-with-us


Study with Us

Courses and programmes offered MSc in Epidemiology MSc in Infection Biology Doctoral programmes 45 postgraduate programmes and short courses

“ I am a Syrian refugee. For me, Swiss TPH is more than a place to study, it is where I formed valuable relationships with people from all over the world, and it is where I learn and apply scientific knowledge to enhance populations’ health. It’s been my window for seeing the world from a broader perspective. ” Lujain Alchalabi, MSc Epidemiology Student at Swiss TPH



A → Swiss TPH has a strong expertise in the diagnosis of parasitic and travel-related tropical diseases such as malaria. B → Swiss TPH has state-of-the-art laboratories for research and diagnostics. C → The biobank at Swiss TPH – biological samples and associated health data – is a precious source for modern public health research.


Organigramme 2022 Board of Governors


Members from the cantons of Basel-Stadt and BaselLandschaft, Swiss universities and the private sector

Director Jürg Utzinger

Chairman Andreas Burckhardt

Deputy Director and Department Head Kaspar Wyss Department Heads Nicole Probst-Hensch, Sébastien Gagneux, Kaspar Wyss, Daniel Paris, Julia Bohlius Administrative Director Mathias Kronig


Administration Mathias Kronig Deputy : Iris Haueter & Alain Bertolotti Finances / Controlling Deniz Gör & Stephan Schwarz Human Resources Iris Haueter Informatics Alain Bertolotti Infrastructure Mathias Kronig ( ad interim )


Epidemiology and Public Health

Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology

Nicole Probst-Hensch Deputy : Jakob Zinsstag

Sébastien Gagneux Deputy : Till Voss

Biostatistics Penelope Vounatsou

Clinical Immunology Claudia Daubenberger

Chronic Disease Epidemiology Nicole Probst-Hensch

Helminth Drug Development Jennifer Keiser

Disease Modelling Melissa Penny

Malaria Gene Regulation Till Voss

Ecosystem Health Sciences Guéladio Cissé

Malaria Host Interactions Nicolas Brancucci

Environmental Exposures and Health Martin Röösli

Parasite Chemotherapy Pascal Mäser

Health Interventions Christian Lengeler Household Economics and Health Systems Research Günther Fink Human and Animal Health Jakob Zinsstag Organigramme valid February 2022

Society, Gender and Health Sonja Merten

For up-to-date information and to see all our staff, please visit : www.swisstph.ch/staff

Vector Biology Pie Müller



Tuberculosis Research Sébastien Gagneux

Communications, Sabina Beatrice-Matter Medical Services, Esther Künzli & Andreas Neumayr Security, Safety and Health, Marco Tamborrini Internal Audit, Vincent Bodenez Project & Grant, Michael Käser

Swiss Centre for International Health


Education and Training

Kaspar Wyss

Daniel Paris Deputy : Christian Burri

Julia Bohlius Deputy : Axel Hoffmann

Digital Health Martin Raab

Clinical Operations Elisabeth Reus

Bachelor-Master-Doctorate Nino Künzli

Health Systems Support Helen Prytherch

Clinical Research Klaus Reither

Library and Documentation Giovanni Casagrande

Systems Performance and Monitoring Odile Pham-Tan

Diagnostics Beatrice Nickel

Professional Postgraduate Training Karin Gross

Medicines Development Daniel Paris Medicines Implementation Research Christian Burri

Teaching Technology and Didactics Axel Hoffmann

The members of the Swiss TPH directorate ( from left ): Jürg Utzinger, Mathias Kronig, Nicole Probst-Hensch, Kaspar Wyss, Julia Bohlius, Daniel Paris, Sébastien Gagneux.



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