Bandim Health Project:
A health and demographic surveillance system site situated in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa

Bandim Health Project

Bandim Health Project follows a population of more than 200,000 individuals in urban and rural Guinea-Bissau. This provides a unique platform for conducting health research. One of the major research areas is to study the “real life” effects of vaccines, vitamin A and other health interventions to women and children. Other research areas include malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

Bandim Health Project is a collaboration between the Guinean Ministry of Health and University of Southern Denmark. Formally, it is placed under the Guinean National Institute of Public Health. The main offices are placed in the suburb Bandim. The Danish part of the group group is hosted at the Danish National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark. 

PhD student Isaquel Silva has been awarded the 2024 Brighter Future Award

lsaquel contacted us already as a medical student with the wish to conduct research to improve maternal and child health in his country. He has since been involved in research at the field station. 

After his MD degree from the Latin American School of Medicine of Cuba in Guinea-Bissau, he attended the Master of epidemiology from CDC’s Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Brazil.

Currently enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Southern Denmark, he continues to pursue knowledge and innovation in his mission to positively impact the lives of mothers and children.

Thus. lsaquel’s academic journey reflects not only his determination to further his own education, but also his contribution to expanding the medical understanding of maternal and child health to diminish the high maternal and child mortality that still is a reality in Guinea-Bissau and many other low­ income settings. Though still young, he already, due to the situation in his country, plays an important role in the health care system. Furthermore, his commitment to education and knowledge dissemination is evident in his engagement with his own staff and with the public and the medical community. In this and many other ways, lsaquel has become a role model for the young medical professionals in his country.



DIAS researchers visit the Bandim Health Project in Guinea-Bissau

A team of nine researchers from five faculties at the University of Southern Denmark, have been on an excursion to Guinea-Bissau to collaborate with the Bandim Health Project. To explore the potential of interdisciplinary approaches in tackling complex problems, each researcher brought unique perspectives and areas of expertise to the table. 

During the eight-day trip, the research team visited several Guinean institutions, including the Instituto da Biodiversidade e das Áreas Protegidas (IBAP), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the national hospital, and INEP, the Guinean Social Science University. These experiences provided ample food for thought, emphasizing the value of interdisciplinary viewpoints when addressing challenges. The aim of the fieldtrip, was to foster groundbreaking ideas and solutions through curiosity-driven research, transcending disciplinary boundaries.

Funding for this trip to Guinea-Bissau was provided by the Danish Institute for Advanced Study (DIAS). 

Participants: Sune Vork Steffensen, Sebastian Mernild, Søren Tollestrup Askegaard, Shriram Venkatraman, Cintia Organo Quintana, Maria Elo, Elzbieta Pastucha, Sani Abdullahi, Christine Stabell Benn, Peter Aaby & Ane Fisker

Professor Christine Stabell Benn has been awarded the George Macdonald Medal

The medal is awarded by The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, for outstanding research leading to improvement of health in the tropics.


In November 2022 OPTIMMUNIZE organized a conference in Odense with the topic: Optimizing the beneficial non-specific effects (NSEs) of vaccines.


Non-specific effects of vaccines named a vaccine milestone by Nature

The world-leading scientific journal “Nature” has made a list of the major milestones in vaccines. The discovery of the beneficial non-specific effects of live attenuated vaccines  made by Peter Aaby in 1984 was one of them (milestone 13). 

Bandim books

Bandim Health Project have published three books in the last 40 years with “Forty years of contradicting conventional wisdom 1978 – 2018” being the latest.

How vaccines train the immune system in ways no one expected | Christine Stabell Benn | TEDxAarhus


Christine Stabell Benn

This podcast investigates vaccines and does so with curiosity.

Whether it be from a medical or a personal angle each guest offers different perspectives on what we know about vaccines.

Your host is professor in global health from University of Southern Denmark, Christine Stabell Benn.


Coronapandemien har stillet skarpt på, hvad vi ved om vacciner, og hvad en nål i skulderen betyder for den enkelte, for samfundet og for forskningen. 

Denne podcast undersøger vacciner og gør det med nysgerrighed.

Uanset om det er fra en medicinsk eller en personlig vinkel, tilbyder hver gæst forskellige perspektiver på, hvad vi ved om vacciner.

Din vært er professor i global sundhed fra Syddansk Universitet, Christine Stabell Benn


A NordForsk-funded consortium to study childhood morbidity and potential non-specific effects of the childhood vaccination programs in the Nordic countries