Jason Beaubien

Jason Beaubien is NPR's Global Health and Development Correspondent on the Science Desk.

In this role, he reports on a range of issues across the world. He's covered the plight of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, mass cataract surgeries in Ethiopia, abortion in El Salvador, poisonous gold mines in Nigeria, drug-resistant malaria in Myanmar and tuberculosis in Tajikistan. He was part of a team of reporters at NPR that won a Peabody Award in 2015 for their extensive coverage of the West Africa Ebola outbreak. His current beat also examines development issues including why Niger has the highest birth rate in the world, can private schools serve some of the poorest kids on the planet and the links between obesity and economic growth.

Prior to becoming the Global Health and Development Correspondent in 2012, Beaubien spent four years based in Mexico City covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In that role, Beaubien filed stories on politics in Cuba, the 2010 Haitian earthquake, the FMLN victory in El Salvador, the world's richest man and Mexico's brutal drug war.

For his first multi-part series as the Mexico City correspondent, Beaubien drove the length of the U.S./Mexico border making a point to touch his toes in both oceans. The stories chronicled the economic, social and political changes along the violent frontier.

In 2002, Beaubien joined NPR after volunteering to cover a coup attempt in the Ivory Coast. Over the next four years, Beaubien worked as a foreign correspondent in sub-Saharan Africa, visiting 27 countries on the continent. His reporting ranged from poverty on the world's poorest continent, the HIV in the epicenter of the epidemic, and the all-night a cappella contests in South Africa, to Afro-pop stars in Nigeria and a trial of white mercenaries in Equatorial Guinea.

During this time, he covered the famines and wars of Africa, as well as inspiring preachers and Nobel laureates. Beaubien was one of the first journalists to report on the huge exodus of people out of Sudan's Darfur region into Chad, as villagers fled some of the initial attacks by the Janjawid. He reported extensively on the steady deterioration of Zimbabwe and still has a collection of worthless Zimbabwean currency.

In 2006, Beaubien was awarded a Knight-Wallace fellowship at the University of Michigan to study the relationship between the developed and the developing world.

Beaubien grew up in Maine, started his radio career as an intern at NPR Member Station KQED in San Francisco and worked at WBUR in Boston before joining NPR.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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In the capital city of the Bahamas, Nassau, authorities are trying to find beds - enough beds for thousands of people who were forced to evacuate because of Hurricane Dorian. They're struggling to accommodate so many who have been left with so little.

In the Bahamas, the damage Hurricane Dorian wreaked on roads, airports, communication grids and other infrastructure is presenting a logistical nightmare for emergency responders and aid workers trying to get basic supplies to the neediest storm victims.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Abdoulie Nyang has a small black radio in his palm. He's sitting in front of his neighbor's clothing shop and listening to the hearings of the Gambian Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission.

"This is not a happy anniversary," said Yap Boum, the regional representative for Epicentre Africa, the research arm of Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

It sounded like such a good idea at the time.

The year was 2005. Global oil prices were climbing dramatically. Countries in the Caribbean were facing major fuel shortages. Venezuela, one of the world's largest producers of crude, offered to ease the staggering fuel costs faced by its neighbors.

This post was updated on June 11 with results from the Jamaican team's first match.

The "Reggae Girlz" of Jamaica are the underdogs of this year's Women's World Cup.

The Jamaican women's national soccer team debuts on Sunday, June 9 at the tournament in France against a highly-rated team from Brazil.

FIFA, soccer's global governing body, ranks the Jamaicans the lowest among the 24 teams at the tournament. But don't try to tell that to any of the players.

The measles outbreak got so bad in Manila, Philippines, that San Lazaro Hospital had to set up tents in the parking lot, the courtyard and even the landing at the top of the stairs outside the pediatric ward to house patients.

"This ward would only accommodate 50 patients," says Dr. Ferdinand de Guzman, the head of family medicine at the hospital. "But at the height of the outbreak, [there were] 300 patients per ward."

Cox's Bazar, a town in Bangladesh, has become the headquarters for the massive humanitarian operation to support the nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees who have fled from Myanmar. But Cox's Bazar is also home to what local tourism officials tout as the "longest sand beach in the world" –with 75 miles of unbroken sandy coastline. Once a month those two worlds come together as international humanitarian workers from the dozens of charity groups in Cox's Bazar volunteer in a beach cleanup.

It's high tide in Cox's Bazar and there's a traffic jam right on the beach at Bangladesh's most prominent seaside resort. The lone road that leads south to the sprawling new camps sheltering hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees is closed for repairs. All the traffic has been diverted onto the gray sand beach, where people are taking selfies and strolling in the shallow surf.

The price of pharmaceuticals around the world can vary dramatically depending on who's paying for the drugs and where those patients happen to live.

Take the pneumonia vaccine. Doctors Without Borders just struck a deal on it for refugee children in Greece. The aid group will pay $9 per immunization for a drug with a list price of $540. In local Greek pharmacies, the vaccine costs $168. France pays $189 for the inoculation while the far less wealthy nation of Lebanon pays $243 for it, according to the group. In India you can get it for roughly $60.

At a small health clinic in the Kutupalong refugee camps in Bangladesh, Somadu Katu is clutching her 3 ½-year-old son, Yassin.

Yassin is wailing. He's running a fever and there are small red dots all over his body. Katu is terrified.

"I'm scared because my baby is very young so he is not able to tolerate the pain," Katu says.

Katu says her son started getting sick about four days earlier. At first, the 35-year-old Rohingya mom thought it was just a common cold. And then the menacing rash emerged.

Along the edge of the largest camp sheltering Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, hundreds of men and women with shovels and wicker baskets are turning a barren hill into a parking lot-sized plateau. The newly leveled land will eventually hold new stronger shelters for refugees from overcrowded parts of the camps.

Under the direction of engineers from the World Food Program, the day laborers are building retaining walls, terracing slopes and digging massive drainage ditches.

In 2016, the World Health Organization triumphantly declared the Americas to be the first region on the globe to eradicate measles. One year later, a measles outbreak erupted in Venezuela.

"And consequently, since June of 2017 we've seen upwards of almost 6,500 cases [in Venezuela]," says Robert Linkins from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Linkins is the branch chief of Accelerated Disease Control and Vaccine Preventable Disease Surveillance at the CDC, and in that role he's the CDC's top person on measles globally.

Venezuela's once impressive medical system has crumbled dramatically. But it's hard to know exactly how bad things are — because the Ministry of Health stopped releasing national health data.

"There has been a strict secrecy policy in public institutions in Venezuela ... since 2012," says Jenny García, a demographer from Venezuela now living in Paris. The government hasn't wanted to release health statistics that are simply going to make it look bad, García says.

For 26 years, Handicap International has not only been providing crutches, prosthetics and wheelchairs to people with disabilities in Burundi, it has also been a leading advocate for people with disabilities in the country. Much of its work has focused on helping people get physical therapy, accessible housing and jobs.

But all of that is over now.

Schistosomiasis is listed as a "neglected" tropical disease by the World Health Organization — one of those diseases that's been overlooked by modern medicine.

It mainly hits poor people in poor countries — and it hits a lot of them, up to 200 million a year. There are only a few drugs available to treat it. There are no designer drugs being cooked up in a lab in Europe for schistosomiasis. Doctoral students rarely pen their thesis on this disease.

History unfortunately does repeat itself.

Two thousand years ago the Romans laid siege to Carthage, killing more than half of the city's residents and enslaving the rest.

Hitler attempted to annihilate the Jews in Europe. In 1994 the Hutus turned on the Tutsis in Rwanda. The Khmer Rouge killed a quarter of Cambodia's population. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, Serbs slaughtered thousands of Bosnians at Srebrenica in July of 1995.

Gregg Gonsalves took a wild, meandering path to the Ivory Tower. His route to becoming a professor at Yale started in street protests and spanned the globe.

On Thursday he was honored with a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship.

Gonsalves is one of this year's MacArthur "geniuses." The award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation comes with a $625,000 no-strings-attached stipend.

In the days after a flood recedes, there's a scene that plays out repeatedly. House after house looks like it's gotten violently ill and vomited all of its waterlogged possessions out onto the lawn.

"It's just heartbreaking," Jerry Gray, 75, says while sitting in his front yard in Kinston, N.C. What used to be his worldly goods are strewn on the lawn around him — wet mattresses, broken furniture, soggy clothes.

"I've been here 16 years," Gray says with a sigh.

On the Atrai River in the northwest of Bangladesh, a small beige boat is tied up in tall grass that lines the riverbank.

The interior of the boat is packed with narrow benches which in turn are jammed with children.

There are 29 students in this third-grade class and it would be hard to fit any more into the narrow vessel. The kids sit shoulder-to-shoulder facing a blackboard at the back of the boat.

Even amidst the trauma they have endured, and a declaration this week by the U.N. that they suffered "gross human rights violations" at the hands of Myanmar's military, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees are moving forward with their daily lives in Bangladesh camps.

In the sprawling Balukhahli refugee camp near the Bangladeshi resort town of Cox's Bazar, 52-year-old Shah Miya lives with two of his daughters and four of their children in a makeshift shelter on a steep, sandy hillside. But in a recent monsoon downpour, he says, the hill behind his shelter collapsed late at night.

"I didn't know it would collapse," Miya says. "Then I heard a big noise. It was like, boom! And then it fell down."

The landslide covered half the family's shelter in several feet of wet, brown sand. Fortunately, he says, no one was injured.

Editor's note: This report includes some graphic descriptions of injuries and violence.

The Myanmar soldiers arrived in the morning, Dildar Begum says. They surrounded her village. It was in the days before the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha and her family had been preparing for the upcoming feast — a feast that would never happen. In the ensuing attack, Begum says, government troops killed 29 members of her family.

Orphanages are falling out of favor.

Ever since the horrific conditions in Romanian orphanages were widely publicized in the 1990s – naked children tied to cribs in overcrowded wards — there's been a movement in the international aid world to shut down orphanages completely.

But according to UNICEF, there are still 2.7 million children living in orphanages worldwide.

So what if someone tried to set up a good orphanage — a place where parentless kids could thrive? What would it look like? And what could it tell us about the basics of child rearing?

The latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo comes just a week after the last outbreak there was declared over. Making things worse for Congolese health officials, this new cluster of Ebola cases is in the volatile North Kivu province, where heavily armed militants have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

The U.N. has an incredibly ambitious goal of wiping out HIV transmission by the year 2030.

But global health experts say they can't execute that plan without a cheaper way to monitor the health of millions of HIV patients.

The Clinton Health Access Initiative, along with several other development agencies, has brokered an agreement to make routine HIV tests more accessible. They're aiming to make HIV viral load tests available for $12 a piece, slashing the price in some markets by more than 50 percent.

The 22nd annual International AIDS Conference is currently underway in Amsterdam. And several studies are looking at the U.S. government's largest foreign HIV program: the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.

The multi-billion dollar program to combat HIV and AIDS globally has been slated for cuts by the Trump administration. But researchers and African health officials credit the program started by President George W. Bush with helping to change the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic.

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