Professor Joep Lange and Jacqueline van Tongeren both started their career at the Academic Medical Center (AMC) in Amsterdam in the 1980s. At that time the new incurable disease AIDS rapidly spread in the western world, especially among the gay community, causing great panic. In the Netherlands, the AMC was at that time and still is a leading institute on treatment of HIV-infected patients and HIV-research. Jacqueline headed up the special AIDS ward when it was established at AMC to take care of AIDS patients and in 1983 Joep Lange started clinical research in HIV-infected patients at the AMC. Through laboratory research he discovered the link between serological response patterns to HIV infection and the speed at which HIV disease progresses. This provided the rationale for the use of combination antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) in 1996, which transformed HIV from a death sentence into a manageable chronic condition.
In Africa at that time, for the great majority of the population, adults and children, treatment was not available and many of the HIV/AIDS patients died of the disease. Joep initiated PharmAccess in 2000, to bring life-saving antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS treatment to Africa. Jacqueline played a crucial role in this initial phase of the organization as board member. Initially, PharmAccess focused on the introduction of HIV/AIDS treatment by convincing Dutch multinationals, starting with Heineken, to provide AIDS treatment to their employees in more than twenty African countries. This was revolutionary at the time. Soon PharmAccess realized that these programs could be broadened to lay a foundation for the development of functional general health systems. PharmAccess aims to stimulate both the demand and supply side of the healthcare sector through quality improvements and clinical standards, loans for healthcare providers, health insurance, health infrastructure, consultancy, HIV/AIDS corporate programs, mHealth and impact research.
In-depth research into the efficacy of innovations and initiatives of PharmAccess in health care delivery and finance is done by the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD) . In 2010 Joep with Jacqueline at his side founded this institute to provide sustainable solutions to major health problems across our planet. Joep was the Executive Scientific Director and Jacqueline the Director Communications for the AIGHD. Throughout their whole careers they were busy finding global health solutions, and the establishment of the AIGHD was an important new step. AIGHD forges synergies between disciplines, health care delivery, research and education. It links disciplines, resources and innovative programs from academic institutions and implementing partners, in both the developed and developing world with the ultimate aim to lead the way to access to high quality health care for all inhabitants of this world.
For a full overview of Joep’s publications please click here