ZEF theme: Health


A healthy population is a prerequisite for development, as only healthy societies can be productive and innovative. Throughout their development process societies undergo the so-called epidemiological transition, which entails a shifting burden of disease from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). As a result, many countries are facing a double burden of disease, meaning that infectious diseases are still highly prevalent while NCDs are rapidly expanding. It is, therefore, necessary to promote health and prevent diseases, by employing both pathogenic and salutogenic approaches to health. On the one hand, understanding and tackling the social (and economic) determinants of health and on the other hand building surveillance, diagnostic and treatment capacities.

At ZEF, integrated (and interdisciplinary) health approaches, such as the One Health approach, are being utilized to understand the complexities of health and disease at the interface between humans, animals and the environment. Particularly our shared environment is understood as health determinant as well as a place of intervention. In the transdisciplinary “One Health and Urban Transformation” graduate school, ZEF is working with its partners in Brazil, Ghana and India to identify risks at the human-animal-environment nexus and develop interventions to achieve optimal health for all.

(Text: Timo Falkenberg; Photo: Poornima Thapet, India)