When, at the end of the 1990s, the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona stopped providing paediatric clinical care, a specialised tropical medicine unit for children was set up in Hospital Sant Joan de Déu. The reference for the new unit was the Hospital Clínic’s Tropical Medicine and International Health Department. Later, in 2005, the two hospitals signed a framework agreement, which was amended in 2010 to include a component on international maternal and child health. ISGlobal, Hospital Clínic and Hospital Sant Joan de Déu renewed the agreement last May to make the most of the synergies between their three institutions and to maximise the impact of their work on the target population.
The joint international maternal and child health programme is structured around four key areas of activity: 1) research, 2) training, 3) care and 4) international cooperation. The programme will be coordinated by Dr. Quique Bassat, who is a paediatrician and an ICREA research professor affiliated to ISGlobal.
In June 2014, the Hospital Clínic-Sant Joan de Déu Integrated Unit for Imported Tropical Diseases was designated a national referral unit (CSUR) by the Interregional Council of the Spanish National Health System. This has created an excellent opportunity to define protocols for joint actions in order to foster exchange of knowledge as well as human and material resources and to provide care for patients and travellers who have diseases with unusual characteristics that require specialised treatment.