Much of the diseases that are treated at Department Q are globally distributed. Contagious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis claim millions of lives every year in Africa where the access to medication and treatment is very limited and there is a lack of knowledge about infections and transmission.
Through The International Center Of Global Infectious Diseases Q-research is able to engage in some of the world’s hot spots with regard to infectious diseases – among these are China, Gambia, Tanzania and Guinea-Bissau.
Department Q has a unique expertise within several of these diseases and take on a global responsibility by providing knowledge and resources in some of the African countries with the highest disease burden.
Doctors, nurses and medical students from Department Q have through several years contributed with professional competency and labor force in the Danish research institution in Ginea-Bissau. 1 out of 25 of the adult inhabitants are infected with HIV, a disease that until recently was equal to getting a death sentence because treatment wasn’t available.
Researchers from Department Q have in cooperation with other Danish and foreign researchers helped establish a treatment offer where the treatment is sponsored by The Global Fund. Most of the work has consisted in establishing a database and a clinical register system to make us able to follow the patients. Furthermore experts from Q-research have contributed to instruction of the local healthcare personnel. Today all HIV infected persons in Guinea-Bissau can be treated even though there are still challenges to overcome, among other things logistics and clinic facilities.
The large prevalence of HIV and tuberculosis in Guinea-Bissau holds some unique research opportunities that provide the researchers from Department Q with important knowledge and experience in the effort to develop new and better treatment methods. The high number of infected makes it possible to make epidemiological research projects and statistical surveys that cannot be done with the few infected in Denmark.
At the same time the health personnel from Department Q gets a broad clinical experience base by working in Guinea-Bissau, where they experience pathological pictures that are rarely seen in Denmark. For example one in Guinea-Bissau see patients with advanced tuberculosis and HIV at a late stage – something that is very rare in Denmark, where most patients are treated before the disease develops.
Part of the blood samples that are made in Guinea-Bissau are transported to Department Q, where researchers analyze the tests in a laboratory. This allows Q-research to study HIV-virus through ultramodern equipment and try to find answers to some of the questions that still remain to be answered before it is possible to develop a cure for HIV.
For our effort to make a difference in some of the poorest countries in Africa, it is crucial that methods for diagnosis and treatment that does not require expensive technological equipment are developed. Therefore the focus of Q-research is mainly pointed towards low-tech solutions that are able to identify infected persons. In Africa many people die from tuberculosis without ever being diagnosed. In order to limit the transmission and reduce the number of deaths it is important to start by finding the infected persons so they can be treated in time.
Department Q’s projects in Guinea-Bissau thus create both better treatment for its’ patients and better research opportunities for Q-research. Experiences from Africa have also given employees from Department Q some cultural competencies and thus better qualifications to handle Danish patients with an immigrant background, who represent a large proportion of HIV infected in Denmark.
You can read more about our international research project below:
Prof., dr.med. Lars Østergaard
Tlf: 78 45 28 00
Fax: 78 45 28 04
Lektor, PhD Christian Wejse
Tlf: 78 45 28 53