Editorial

"Challenges to public health are best tackled holistically and collaboratively"

Dear Reader,

Since Bayer began more than 150 years ago, the average human lifespan has doubled, to 80 years. This is thanks to innovation, science and technology. As a company, we have a truly incredible heritage of game-changing innovations in healthcare. But human longevity hasn’t happened everywhere on earth. In some areas, old health foes continue to impact, debilitate, or end, lives too soon. 

Every year, more than one billion people [1] suffer from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) or malaria, and most often it’s people in developing nations who can least afford to become sick: The inability to work, and the resulting loss of income, or the need for a caregiver, can perpetuate the poverty cycle. With neglected tropical diseases, women and children living in unsanitary environments are most at risk. [2] At the same time, about 3.2 billion people – almost half of the world – live in areas at risk of malaria. Uncomplicated malaria cases are curable, yet in 2016 there were 216 million clinical cases, and 445,000 deaths [3]

These diseases cause immeasurable emotional pain for the families, and they have collateral global effects. As one example, in some of these countries, farmers are particularly at risk for illness, since damp farmland can be a danger zone for vector-borne infections. Local communities depend on these farmers for their supply of food, but beyond that, these smallholder farmers make an invaluable contribution towards providing food and nutrition for a growing world population.

To find ways to further advance lives, particularly for high-risk people groups around the globe, Bayer has tapped into its expertise across human, animal and plant health. Underscoring our commitment, we are signatory to the London Declaration to eradicate, eliminate or control certain neglected tropical diseases by 2020. Together with four leading agricultural companies, we also signed ‘ZERO by 40,’ a declaration that aims to eradicate malaria by 2040 through research, development and supply of innovative vector control solutions.

We strongly believe that challenges to public health are best tackled holistically and collaboratively. And this is why we are presenting experts in public health, within Bayer and our external partners, through this magazine. Together, we can prevent causes and find cures – but not in another 150 years. This magazine supports the efforts that are leading to solutions that make a difference to people’s lives right now.

By reading this magazine and sharing it with stakeholders and the public, you are helping too: Together, we must all create awareness and understanding for patients suffering from vector-borne, and most often neglected, diseases.

 

We wish you a meaningful read.

 

  

Kemal Malik

Member of the Board of Management, Bayer AG