“To those who regularly visit Sub-Saharan Africa, the pace of change is indeed astonishing, and there are many reasons to be optimistic about the region. We should, however, also realize that very little has changed for the poor in rural settings, and that the lives of those who left for urban slums are extremely difficult. To include these groups in the ‘great escape’ from poverty is the big challenge ahead.”

– Joep Lange, July 2014

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.

Joep Lange Chair & Fellows program

The VISION of the Professor Joep Lange Chair and Fellows Program is to provide a center of excellence where research and implementation are brought together, knowledge is shared and best practices are tested whilst challenging the status quo in Global Health research and fostering innovations. The Chair and Fellows Program will bring together experts from different backgrounds and geographies, thus adding value and perspective to the multidisciplinary research activities carried out at the Department of Global Health-AIGHD and its research collaboration partners in Africa, Asia, the Netherlands and other geographies.

The vision of the Joep Lange Chair and Fellows Program is in close alignment with the vision of the JLI: “Making Health Markets Work for the Poor”. Health systems research, education and capacity building are key to any Global Health research and innovation program, including the Joep Lange Chair and Fellows Program. In accordance with its vision, the Program is therefore expected to significantly feed and strengthen program activities carried out within the context of the JLI.

The GOAL of the Joep Lange Chair and Fellows Program is to promote collaborative research, including health economic and (mathematical) modeling approaches, and teaching interactions in Global Health in its broadest definition, with the ultimate aim of achieving ground breaking progress in health systems and service delivery in Low- and Middle Income Countries, for both infectious and non-communicable diseases.

Link to Joep Lange Institute page
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Link to Updates page
  • May 20, 2016

    AMC Magazine ​​has just announced the first two chairs of the Joep Lange Institute in... Read More

  • April 27, 2016

    Dutch pianist and composer Michiel Borstlap wrote a playful and colorful melody of optimism in... Read More

  • March 15, 2016

    The Joep Lange Institute was formally announced on Wednesday the 15th of March, along with a... Read More

  • March 14, 2016

    Onno Schellekens and Tobias Rinke de Wit officially announced the Joep Lange Institute at DWDD.... Read More

AMC announced Joep Lange chairs – May 20, 2016

AMC Magazine ​​has just announced the first two chairs of the Joep Lange Institute in its​ latest issue

Read More
The Optimist – Michiel Borstlap – April 27, 2016

Dutch pianist and composer Michiel Borstlap wrote a playful and colorful melody of optimism in the midst of the sadness surrounding Joep’s death. The revenues from the song will go to the Joep Lange Institute.

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Launch event Joep Lange Institute – March 15, 2016

The Joep Lange Institute was formally announced on Wednesday the 15th of March, along with a new, rotating chair and fellowship program at the Academic Medical Center, where Lange was a professor and founded the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development.

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Joep Lange Institute at DWDD – March 14, 2016

Onno Schellekens and Tobias Rinke de Wit officially announced the Joep Lange Institute at DWDD. Great performance. DWDD is the Netherlands' biggest current events TV show.

Read More

Joep Lange Institute
Paasheuvelweg 25, Wing 1D
1105 BP Amsterdam Zuidoost
The Netherlands

Telephone +31 (0) 20 303 10 50

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 in countries 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, delivery 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.