Just three little words, “global health security”, but they represent such depths of meaning. A hundred years of modern scientific enquiry into infectious diseases such as yellow fever, malaria, and now zika. The wake up call of SARS and swine flu, where viruses with dramatic results leapt the species barrier. The galvanising effect of West Africa’s Ebola epidemic on the WHO, the international NGO and donor community and on governments. The concern over emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, so many of them zoonotic in origin.
The past century has seen unprecedented growth in cities around the world. Whilst the rise of megacities is a source of concern to some (see Feral cities, BBC Radio 4), according to researchers from the UK and USA, urbanization has been followed by a significant contraction in the extent of malaria throughout endemic countries.