The Institute's services include special laboratory diagnostics for tropical and other rare infections as well as advice for physicians, science, industry, politics and the public, which contribute significantly to the Institute's national importance. The Institute was appointed National Reference Centre for Tropical Infectious Agents by the Federal Ministry of Health and WHO Cooperation Centre (WHOCC) for Arboviruses and Haemorrhagic Fever Viruses by the World Health Organisation.
Teaching activities include a three-month, full-day course on all aspects of tropical medicine for medical doctors, as well as an advanced training programme for doctoral students at the Institute and a range of continuing education courses on topics related to travel medicine and international health. Numerous scientists from the Institute are involved in student teaching as appointed professors of the University and the University Hospital Hamburg.
In cooperation with the Ghanaian Ministry of Health and the University of Kumasi, the Institute has been operating a modern research and training centre in West Africa for 25 years, which is also available to external working groups. In addition, there are numerous research cooperations with scientists and scientific institutions in various African countries.
As a member of the Leibniz Association, the Institute is jointly financed by the Federal Government, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the other federal states as a research institute of supraregional importance. On the part of Hamburg, the BNITM is assigned to the Ministry for Science, Research, Equalities and Districts (BWFGB), on the part of the federal government to the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG).