Joep + Great Escape

Joep Lange was a prominent doctor, scientist and activist. He was a pioneer in his academic field and ahead of his time in his drive to convert science into action. He never shied away from pointing out the real issues and worked tirelessly to address them. He had neither the time nor the patience to concern himself with political sensitivities. The patient always came first, whether it was one of his own patients in the Netherlands or someone he had never met in a country where proper care was out of reach.

In 1996 he discovered the link between serological response patterns to HIV infection and the speed at which HIV progresses, providing the rationale for the use of combination antiretroviral drugs. It was combination therapy that transformed HIV from a death sentence into a manageable chronic condition. After this discovery it dumbfounded Joep to see how little was being done for Africa, where millions of people were dying of AIDS. “Everything is there, the fact that HIV/AIDS treatment is not available in Africa, is at best lack of will mixed with stupidity. At worst it is racism. I am afraid there is a lot of the latter: apparently a life in Africa is worth less.”

He made it his mission to get people in Africa on treatment. He started clinical trials, pioneering treatment for pregnant mothers to stop transmission to their newborn children. The results were astounding. Then he partnered with the private sector: Heineken was the first to join, treating their employees in six African countries as early as 2001. This proved that it was possible and affordable to take antiretroviral treatment to Africa, and that the private sector could play an important role in this public good that we call healthcare. The success of this effort laid the foundation for what would later become the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

As part of his mission to fight for inclusive quality healthcare, Joep founded both AIGHD and PharmAccess with the aim of achieving optimal impact through their complementary activities in research and action respectively. He pushed the envelope in the field of global health. Not only did he contribute to the way in which we fight AIDS today, he was also a trailblazer in a new approach to development aid: conducting groundbreaking research, applying innovations, setting up controversial partnerships with the private sector and testing new financing mechanisms in countries where no one thought it would be possible.

Indeed, more than once Joep showed the world that “nothing is impossible, especially if it is inevitable.”

Joep’s vision forms the DNA of the Joep Lange Institute, and we are honored to continue building on what he left behind.


The Joep Lange Institute aims to demonstrate that practical barriers for access and effective care can be overcome. We believe that digital solutions are key to revolutionize access, quality and inclusiveness of health markets. We initiate and spur digital innovations by asking ourselves confronting questions and address them through advocacy, research and implementation. Our activities engage the health sector around this agenda.

Well-known experts from the policy, science or practice of global health are invited to give their view on innovation in their area of expertise and to discuss the potential they see for the future of global health. Including;

Marc Dybul, Executive Director, Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Professor Dan Ariely, Behavioural Economist, Duke University

Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President, Worldbank

The Joep Lange Chair and Fellows Program brings together experts from different backgrounds and geographies to collaborate on research that will help drive change in the field of global health. It is housed within the Global Health Department of the Amsterdam Medical Centre (University of Amsterdam). The first two Chairs are world-renowned behavioral economist Dan Ariely and the highly distinguished professor Mark Dybul, director of the Global Fund.

The Joep Lange institute secures research (through the Centre of Advanced Hindsight) and development funding for M-TIBA an innovative financing platform for healthcare in Africa. M-TIBA is an inclusive healthcare platform directly connecting patients, healthcare providers and healthcare payers (insurers, donors), and exchanges money and data between them.

The Home Based Hypertension Management Program aims to develop and test a new model of hypertension care delivery that uses mobile technology to offer home-based care. The Amsterdam Health and Technology Institute (ahti), enabled by the JLI, is developing this innovation in house.

The Joep Lange institute will work with Utrecht University and other partners to promote fundamental understanding of how mechanisms work and what the role technology can play to improve situations where public institutions do not function.

Honoring the legacy of Joep Lange, the Joep Lange institute has partnered with the HIV Research Trust, based in the UK, to provide an annual scholarship for PhD students from the developing world to study in the United Kingdom.

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  • October 25, 2017 The Joep Lange Institute is proud to present its documentary 'The Great Escape' at the first... Read More
  • September 21, 2017 “Professions where pay for performance can be useful are in simple cases. Is that ever the... Read More
  • September 12, 2017 Can ‘big data’ be used to create a better world? Moreover, is it ethical to choose privacy... Read More
Great Escape Documentary will be shown at Dutch Global Health Film Festival – October 25, 2017

The Joep Lange Institute is proud to present its documentary 'The Great Escape' at the first Dutch Global Health Film Festival that is taking place in Utrecht on Saturday October 28th. The London based initiative introduces the festival for the first time in the Netherlands to bring together people with interest in global health to think, discuss and debate about global health related issues. The Great Escape is a short documentary how to reach social equity in healthcare in Africa by using mobile technology.

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Watch Dan Ariely & World bank: P4P versus intrinsic motivation to improve health outcomes – September 21, 2017

“Professions where pay for performance can be useful are in simple cases. Is that ever the medical profession? I think that very few are’’, said behavioral economist Dan Ariely at the symposium that brought together the fields of pay-for-performance and behavioral science.

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JLI debate on Data, Health and Care – September 12, 2017

Can ‘big data’ be used to create a better world? Moreover, is it ethical to choose privacy over quality when we decide not to use data for social innovation?

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Where pay-for-performance meets intrinsic motivation – August 11, 2017

Dan Ariely & World Bank symposium

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The Great Escape: digital disruption to democratize healthcare – July 18, 2017

LinkedIn blog by Onno Schellekens

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Watch Dan Ariely Talk on social innovations for health: “Most of the digital technology is helping people to spend more rather than think better and save more.” – June 29, 2017

Watch Dan Ariely's Talk on social innovations “Most of the digital technology is helping people to spend more rather than think better and save more.”

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Ariely to discuss social innovations for health – June 21, 2017

JLI hosts evening with Dan Ariely at De Balie

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M-TIBA digital platform wins 2017 FT/IFC Transformational Business Award – June 13, 2017

Proud to announce that M-TIBA, a digital platform the Joep lange Institute actively supports, has received the FT/IFC Transformational Business Award

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Big Data, eHealth and Education – June 12, 2017

On Friday, June 9th, the Joep Lange Institute, AIGHD and The Health[e] Foundation hosted a Symposium on Big Data, eHealth and education at the AMC.

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INTEREST 2017 – May 22, 2017

Digital innovation & the science of delivery at INTEREST 2017

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Joep Lange Institute
Paasheuvelweg 25, Tower 4C
1105 BP Amsterdam Zuidoost
The Netherlands

Telephone +31 (0) 20 303 10 52

The Joep Lange Institute is an activist institute, inspired by the life and work of Joep Lange. We combine science, activism, and pragmatism to reach our goal: making health markets work for the poor where the system fails the people.

To achieve this goal we analyze the obstacles and failures in healthcare today, asking inconvenient questions when necessary. We come up with concrete solutions for healthcare quality, access and finance. We develop and test these on the ground, to see what works and what doesn’t. We advocate to scale those that have real impact for real people.

Over the last two decades, through the organizations Joep founded,  we’ve been pioneers in the delivery of HIV/AIDS treatment in Africa, and in working with the private sector in the public interest. We’ve set up health insurance for the poor, introduced quality standards for basic health clinics in Africa, and made loans available to them. Over time, we even became one of the largest private equity investors in African healthcare. Our emphasis on rigorous research has led to breakthroughs in treatment and delivery. Combined, our programs reach millions of people each month.

Keeping the patient at the heart of our approach, the Joep Lange Institute will work relentlessly with researchers and public and private partners. We believe technology is the way to connect those who are structurally excluded. It can reduce barriers to saving as well as paying for health, generate data to reduce risk and increase knowledge, and be a conduit for training and education. Many of these solutions for better access to care are available right now, the challenge is to get them implemented.

Joep taught us never to accept the constraints imposed by the status quo or by fear. Such hesitations are counterproductive for the people we want to serve. We make a radical choice for the facts, and a radical choice for people.

Bad healthcare not only undermines the health of individuals, it drives families and communities into poverty. We challenge the brightest minds and thought leaders to be part of a strategic agenda to make health markets work for the poor.


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