Bandim Health Project

Disease surveillance and research in vaccines, vitamin A and other health interventions in one of the world's poorest countries, Guinea-Bissau.

The Bandim Health Project is a health project in one of the poorest countries in the world, Guinea-Bissau, in West-Africa. The main focus of the project is demography surveillance of more than 100.000 people in 6 suburbs of the capital Bissau and additionally 180 clusters of women and their children in the rural areas.

Information about women and children

More than 150 local assistants make regular visits to all houses in the area, collecting information on health, diseases, immunisations, breast-feeding, etc. The primary focus is on women and children. Furthermore, all admissions to the country’s sole paediatric ward in the capital are recorded.

Collection of data provides new opportunities for research

The thorough registration process provides the Bandim Health Project with a unique opportunity to study the population effects of new health interventions such as the introduction of new vaccines, vitamin A supplementation or the distribution of bednets to prevent malaria. Research from the project has led to important discoveries.

An important discovery

One of the most important findings was that a new measles vaccine used in low-income countries was associated with a two-fold increase in mortality among girls. This discovery led to the withdrawal of the vaccine. Had it not been withdrawn, it could have cost at least ½ million additional female deaths per year in Africa alone.