The Portuguese Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (IHMT) is an Organic Unit of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL). It functions in the dependence of the Ministry of Education and Science, and it aims at developing the scientific knowledge of health problems related with the tropical and intertropical world.
Created in April 24, 1902, under the name Tropical Medical School, the IHMT was initially devoted to the study, teaching and medical practice of tropical diseases. This intervention has evolved into an integrated approach, ranging from the molecular level to global health systems, with a strong commitment in solving the health problems that afflict the poorer and the excluded, on every continent.
The Institute is recognized both nationally and internationally for its history but also for the scientific quality of postgraduate education, research and contribution in cooperation for health development in the Portuguese-speaking African countries and East Timor. The quality of its intervention was recognized by the World Health Organization while assigning the Institute the status of collaborating center on Health Workforce Policy and Planning.
IHMT holds the following areas of intervention:
Education and training
Tropical health teaching was the primary mission of IHMT, even previously to the constitution of the School of Tropical Medicine in 1902. The academic training is focused on doctoral and master’s programs with unique specificities in Portugal and in the Portuguese-speaking world: biomedical sciences (including parasitology and medical microbiology), tropical medicine (clinical and tropical pathology) and public health (international health, public health and development, health and development policies and tropical public health). We teach what we research and find ourselves increasingly oriented to extend our educational provision to advanced courses, courses on aid to development and long-distance courses.
The research policy of IHMT is presently embodied in the R&D center Global Health and Tropical Medicine (GHTM) – rated as ‘Excellent’ by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. The activity of GHTM is based on two transverse lines of research:
- Health challenges of travelers and migrants
- Emerging diseases and environmental and climate change
These two lines congregate the following three research groups:
- Vector-borne diseases – VBD
- Tuberculosis, HIV and other opportunistic agents – THOP
- Health of populations, policies and services – PPS
Health is embeded in a context of continuous change. Through a systematic observation of this context, the determinants of health, the occurrence of illnesses and diseases and their vectors and hosts the IHMT continuously monitor and evaluate the health status of the populations in order to help identify the most appropriate interventions to each event.
Development in the sector of health depends on robust organizations that gradually develop local capacity to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate activities that lead to health gains. This is undertaken in a spirit of universality, equity, solidarity and national and global citizenship. To achieve this, IHMT has developed a set of training opportunities for development aid, directed to train competent and motivated actors, working in their countries health systems, who will develop the necessary actions to ensure universal healthcare access. These actions should be relevant for the provision of services and safe for the users and professionals involved, contributing to regional, national and institutional health goals. The advanced development aid courses are offered at the request of in need countries or regions and are available to health systems managers or technicians. Personal initiative requests are not allowed.
Services to the Community
IHMT services provision offers our expertise at the disposal of citizens, through consultations (to travellers and in the areas of tropical medicine and tropical dermatology), laboratory services and methods support to scientists and academics consultations (epidemiology, biostatistics and qualitative methods). IHMT also hosts a reference laboratory for the diagnosis of leptospirosis, according to the guidelines of the International Leptospirosis Society (ILS) / WHO, and allows researchers and scientists from other institutions to use its insectaries and vivarium.
Preservation of historical heritage
With over 110 years of existence, IHMT holds a cultural and museum heritage of enormous historical wealth. It is our goal to promote the restoration and preservation of this heritage.