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More than 15 years ago, researchers from the VHIR’s Infectious Diseases Group, together with members of the Tropical Medicine and International Health Unit of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, started a close collaboration with the Hospital Nossa Senhora da Paz (HNSP) in Cubal, Angola. This collaboration, under the leadership of Dr Israel Molina, head of the infectious diseases group at VHIR, has taken different forms. Initially with support through weekly telemedicine sessions between professionals from Angola and Vall Hebron, exchanges between medical staff in the field throughout the year to support the hospital, as well as the implementation of research projects and public health and/or community to achieve the creation of the Centre for Health Research (Pesquisa me Saúde) in Cubal (Angola) or the implementation in recent years of two major research projects, CRESCER, to reduce child mortality due to malnutrition, and FUTURO, to improve family planning among young people.

During these years, research was carried out on diseases that are highly prevalent in Angola, and particularly in Cubal. These included tuberculosis, schistosomiasis, geohelminthiasis and malaria. All of these interventions have identified unmet needs for health development, research, education and training of health professionals.

As a result of this collaboration, in 2012 a framework agreement was established between the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute, the Nossa Senhora da Paz Hospital and the Katyavala Bwila University of Benguela, culminating with the inauguration of the Health Research Centre (Pesquisa me Saúde) in Cubal (Angola) in 2018. This research centre brings direct benefit to the general population, the country’s health system and provides a boost to research in the most prevalent infectious diseases. The Vall d’Hebron Campus has been actively involved in the whole process from the outset, as a guarantee of the scientific quality of the projects and training programmes to be developed. And both Dr Molina and his team, as well as Vall d’Hebron, will continue to provide logistical support and advice to this project. We believe that over time, we will promote staff exchanges, host international researchers and become an international reference centre in the field of infectious diseases.

Over the years, other teams of Vall d’Hebron specialists have joined the project, such as microbiology, paediatrics, preventive medicine and psychiatry.

It was in 2021 that the VHIR launched two projects funded by the European Union: the CRESCER Project, which is aimed at preventing chronic malnutrition in southern Angola, and the FUTURO Project, which focuses on sexual and reproductive health in adolescents. The studies are coordinated by Dr Elena Trigo and Dr Marisa Aznar respectively.

In 2023, our research team leaders in Angola, Dr Israel Molina, Marisa Aznar and Elena Trigo, met with the King and Queen of Spain during their state visit to the African country. The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, the Spanish Ambassador in Luanda, Manuel María Lejarreta, and other members of the Spanish delegation.

Also in 2023, on the occasion of the X Jornadas Científicas del Hospital Nossa Senhora da Paz de Cubal, organised jointly with Vall d’Hebron, a TV3 team visited the team of researchers working on these two projects in the field. You can watch the videos below:

Salut sexual i reproductiva, clau per combatre la mortalitat infantil a Angola

Angola: com l'emergencia climàtica afecta la salut de les persones

Infeccions tropicals: fer recerca als països amb més casos perquè tothom se'n beneficïi

Sud d'Angola, quan el futur està compromès per la desnutrició crònica infantil

Els colors del Barça, fins i tot en les zones més remotes d'Àfrica

VHIR Annual Report 2023