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Childhood Health Researcher Beate Kampmann Launches the 2023-2034 Programme of ISGlobal-University of Barcelona Postgraduate Courses

The scientific director of the Charité Center for Global Health in Berlin reviews the challenges of immunisation in the global context

Beate Kampmann ISGlobal-UB Postgraduate Courses
Photo: Aleix Cabrera / ISGlobal

The programme of postgraduate courses coordinated by ISGlobal and the University of Barcelona (UB) was inaugurated last Friday. Some 40 students coming from over 20 countries are now attending classes for the courses that will, by July next year, earn them a Master in Global Health, tropEd Master in Global Health, Diploma in Global Health Fundamentals or Master in Clinical Research: International Health Track.


ISGlobal and University of Barcelona (UB) 2023-2024 postgraduate students. Photos: A. Cabrera/ISGlobal.


The 2023-2024 academic year was officially opened with an inaugural session hosted by the renowned researcher Beate Kampmannan expert in childhood tuberculosis and vaccination during pregnancy—whose career has been closely linked to Africa and, in particular The Gambia. Since last January, Kampmann has been scientific director at the Charité Center for Global Health (CCGH) in Berlin. This post was the reason she returned to Germany after thirty years working in the United Kingdom, first in Imperial College London and later in the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), an institution with which she has maintained close links.

Vaccination During Pregnancy

In the course of the session held in the auditorium of the UB Faculty of Medicine Kampmann talked about the milestones that have marked her own scientific career and the challenges facing global health today, in particular vaccination and immunity.

The number of children dying before completing their fifth year of life has declined by almost 50% worldwide since 1990 thanks, in large measure, to immunisation programmes. However, 2.43 million children still die during their first month of life according to the latest UNICEF/WHO/World Bank report, published in 2022. Kampmann insisted that improving neonatal health is still a priority and that the next step is to protect newborn babies during the window of vulnerability that opens up in the first weeks of life, before vaccination strategies are implemented.


Núria Casamitjana, ISGlobal's Training Director, addressing the students.


Kampmann is exploring this issue in her research and has conducted clinical trials on vaccination during pregnancy, a strategy that facilitates the natural transfer of antibodies from the mother to the foetus. She is the first author, for example, of a study published in August 2023 that demonstrated the safety and efficacy of administering a vaccine to mothers during pregnancy to prevent severe pneumonia caused by respiratory syncytial virus in infants. In the next few years, this vaccine could become a reality in the low- and middle-income countries where it is most needed.

“The important thing is to get safe and effective vaccines to those who need them most”, Kampmann explained.

Read our interview to Beate Kampmann

Beate Kampmann’s Advice for Students

Known for her work in helping to train young scientists, especially Africans and women, Kampmann was interested in finding out more about the views of the students in the audience and gave the attendees a few pieces of advice, which are summarised in the following table:


Beate Kampmann's advice for students.


The students studying for their masters or diplomas in the ISGlobal-UB graduate programs (almost 80% women) “choose the course because they want to improve people’s health all over the world through research and professional practice”, explains Núria Casamitjana, ISGlobal's Training Director. “Their dedication is needed to meet the global challenges facing us all and we look forward to accompanying them in their growth and development as global health professionals,” she added.


Beate Kampmann’s visit to ISGlobal also included a meeting with members of the institute’s Steering Committee to share experiences and the details of organisational and financing models used by ISGlobal and the CCGH in Berlin. The attendees discussed the value of sharing experience and a vision; they also talked about the challenges facing global health and the importance of strengthening cooperation between European centres. Two issues that were paid special attention were the need to focus on “decolonising” and "equity" in collaborations with African and Latin American countries/institutions/researchers.


Beate Kampmann with members of the ISGlobal's Steering Committee.


Kampmann also met with the team of researchers working in ISGlobal’s Maternal, Child and Reproductive Health Initiative, which she has been collaborating with for some time. All those involved expressed their desire to strengthen the collaboration between Professor Kampmann and ISGlobal in both global health research and training at postgraduate level (master and doctorate degrees).