In addition, a more recent cost-benefit analysis by the World Bank relating to an agricultural irrigation project in Ethiopia found that almost a third of the project’s benefit in terms of enhanced production and household incomes was cancelled out by its health costs – including the increased number of cases of malaria and schistosomiasis and the resulting days of sickness. That is why the report recommends that such programmes should only be carried out in areas where malaria and schistosomiasis are rare or can be easily controlled. The latter is now in principle the case everywhere – unlike in the 1970s and 1980s. Simple, proven and cost-effective methods to achieve this are available (see article Malaria, shistosomiasis & Co. – The scourge of the 'bottom billion).

Antibiotic resistance

The World Health Organization recently declared the worldwide rise in pathogen resistance to the antibiotics currently available to treat infectious diseases to be one of the greatest global health challenges of our time.