The main aim of the project was to contribute to a better understanding of health services in developing countries through Swiss Missions by using historical research methods. The research is based on two case studies located in Ghana (Agogo Hospital: Basel Mission) and South Africa (Elim Hospital, Mission Romande). The research team was especially interested in examining the interaction between health care providers and their changing political, social and economic environments. They studied the activities of former Swiss missionary hospitals and the changing conditions under which they delivered various forms of health care. The ultimate aim is to show how history can contribute to the development of sustainable health systems. Historical explanations for the success and failure of health systems can serve to inform today’s decision-makers. The study applied the methodologies of history and social anthropology, as well as (historical) epidemiology in order to examine the effects of political, economic, social and cultural changes on disease and health environments.