By 2050, 68% of the world's population is projected to be urban. Cities are magnets for people uprooted from rural areas, who hope to find a better livelihood in the city - with far-reaching consequences for overburdened health services. Swiss TPH studies the health effects caused by urbanisation - in low-income settings in Africa as well as in wealthy countries in Europe. Experts investigate environmental exposures such as noise or air pollution, they help to improve water and sanitation facilities or study the often fatal co-occurence of infectious and chronic diseases.
Double Burden of Disease
City dwellers in low-income countries are exposed to a double risk. Air pollution leads to respiratory diseases and many middle-class people suffer from 'diseases of civilisation' like diabetes or heart diseases. At the same time, the 'classical' infectious diseases remain, and are rapidly propagated. Urban irrigation schemes are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes transmitting malaria, the lack of clean drinking water is the cause of diarrhoeal disease and the complex socio-cultural environment of the city makes it an area of high risk for infection with HIV and tuberculosis.
Cardiovascular diseases take almost 18 million lives per year, with three-quarters of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Working with local authorities and partners from different sectors, the Novartis Foundation’s Better Hearts Better Cities initiative addressed hypertension in three major cities on three different continents (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Dakar, Senegal; and São Paulo, Brazil) with the aim to demonstrate the value of a multidisciplinary, sustainable approach to improve cardiovascular health outcomes in low-income urban populations. Read more
The main aim of the EXPANSE project is to address one of the most pertinent questions for urban planners, policy makers, and inhabitants in Europe: “How to maximize one’s health in a modern urban environment?” EXPANSE will translate its insights and innovations into research and dissemination tools that will be openly accessible via the EXPANSE toolbox. Further information
In two mass vaccination campaigns in N'Djamena, Chad, Swiss TPH experts vaccinated more than 40'000 dogs against rabies. This corresponds to 70% of all animals living in the capital city. Such high vaccination coverage was only achievable through close collaboration with local decision-makers, veterinarians and dog owners. As a result, rabies cases in dogs decreased by 90% within a year. Read more