Smallholders, their families and farming communities are vulnerable to vector-borne diseases, including malaria and neglected tropical diseases.
Outlook Diana Scholz and Janice Chow

Our Connected World

More than half of the United States is being ‘kissed’ – the kissing bug (triatome), which spreads Chagas disease, has reached states as far north as Pennsylvania and Illinois. [1]  This disease, which used to be only associated with the tropics, has now been found to occur in temperate regions in our warming world. In our connected world, diseases can more easily go from local to regional – and even global. Such trends are changing how we all protect our own health, as well as the health of the people around us and the animals in our care.

Janice Chow and Diana Scholz, Bayer AGCredit: transQUER GmbH, Bayer AG

Janice Chow (l), Managing Editor, and Diana Scholz (r), Editor in Chief for Bayer's Public Health magazine


Cities are growing – everywhere. 2017 marked a global landmark: More than half of the people in low- and middle-income countries were living in cities. [2] This rise in urbanization in developing nations is possible because of the declining infectious disease deaths in those countries – but, according to an article presented by the Council of Foreign Relations, “evidence suggests that treatment (e.g., childhood vaccines), rather than prevention (e.g., clean water), has mattered the most.”[3] The growth of global mega-cities brings cause for global attention and caution in our inter-connected world. 

Far away from any city center, there is a smallholder – likely a woman – tending a small field of crops or caring for a small group of farm animals. In fact, there are hundreds of millions of them across the world. Producing a substantial portion of the food supply in developing countries, smallholders have the potential to contribute significantly to food security and poverty reduction. [4]

Our modern world is connected: When societies, whether urban or rural, are well-nourished, nations around the world prosper. Global productivity, education and development continue, allowing individuals, communities and nations to sustain themselves. As Bill Gates once said, “Innovations that are guided by smallholder farmers, adapted to local circumstances, and sustainable for the economy and environment will be necessary to ensure food security in the future.” Ideal farming conditions are also ideal for breeding of disease vectors. This means smallholders, their families and farming communities are more vulnerable to vector-borne diseases, including malaria and neglected tropical diseases.

This issue of Public Health magazine recognizes that ‘one world’ means ‘one health’. We put the spotlight on diseases which affect smallholders and city dwellers, warming climates and even cooler ones. We also focus on the link between the health of animals and people. We bring you data and dialogue from the areas of human, animal and plant health. Leading voices from these fields have demonstrated their areas of focus, and they share a core idea: Everything is connected. In a world where populations are growing, greater knowledge about and the ability to treat and protect them from infectious diseases is key to ensuring public health. 

The Gates Foundation, programs like “ZERO by 40” and global organizations such as Bayer are working harder than ever to fight malaria, as well as zoonotic and neglected tropical diseases.[5] For all of us, the future of our wellbeing relies on advancing public health.


Diana Scholz and Janice Chow manage Bayer's Public Health magazine

Credit: transQUER GmbH, Bayer AG

When you share this magazine and encourage dialogue on these topics, you are connecting to the matters that affect us all. Let’s stay connected.

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