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 health issues across the world including the mobilization of massive circumcision drives in Kenya; how Botswana, with one of the highest rates of HIV in the world, has managed to provide free, life-saving drugs to almost all who need them; and why Brazil's once model HIV/AIDS program is seen in decline.

Prior to moving into this assignment in 2012, Beaubien spent four years a NPR foreign correspondent covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. From his base in Mexico City, Beaubien filed stories on politics in Cuba, hurricanes in Haiti, 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 the 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.

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3:17pm

Tue July 22, 2014
Goats and Soda

Rumor Patrol: No, A Snake In A Bag Did Not Cause Ebola

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 8:17 pm

Eerie protective suits and shiny body bags have fueled rumors about the origins of Ebola. Here, a burial team removes the body of a person suspected to have died from the virus in the village of Pendembu, Sierra Leone.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

"A lady had a snake in a bag. When somebody opened the bag, that made the lady die."

That's the beginning of a story that Temba Morris often hears about the origins of Ebola. Morris runs a government health clinic in a remote village near Sierra Leone's border with Guinea. According to the story, somebody else then looked inside the bag.

"And the one who opened the bag also died," is what Morris hears next. The snake escaped into the Sierra Leone bush.

So there you have it: Ebola is an evil snake that will kill you if you look at it.

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5:25am

Tue July 22, 2014
Goats and Soda

Ebola Is A Deadly Virus — But Doctors Say It Can Be Beaten

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 8:34 pm

Sylvester Jusu is a volunteer who works with the Red Cross burial team in Sierra Leone.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Saidu Kanneh was given a hero's welcome last week when he walked into a community meeting about Ebola in a tiny village of mud huts in the Kissi Kama region of Sierra Leone. Kanneh was diagnosed with Ebola early in July, was treated for 12 days in a Doctors Without Borders hospital and overcame the disease.

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10:37am

Sun July 20, 2014
Africa

Facility Sets Up Extreme Precautions To Treat Ebola Patients

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 12:08 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Arun Rath. The worst Ebola outbreak ever recorded continues to spread in West Africa. And medical workers in Sierra Leone have responded by expanding an extraordinary field hospital. It opened less than a month ago, but it now has the largest Ebola isolation unit ever built, with 64 beds. NPR's Jason Beaubien visited and describes for us the infection control measures that go into treating this highly contagious disease.

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4:09pm

Thu July 3, 2014
Global Health

To Combat Ebola Outbreak, Health Officials Call For 'Drastic' Action

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 6:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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5:06am

Thu June 26, 2014
Africa

Second Surge Of Ebola Strikes West Africa

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 2:19 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

An Ebola outbreak in West Africa is now the largest and most deadly outbreak of that virus ever recorded. The first cases were confirmed in Guinea in March. Health officials thought they had a handle on this. They did not. A rash of new cases popped up in neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia. So we're going to talk about this with NPR's Jason Beaubien, who's been following the story. Hi, Jason.

JASON BEAUBIEN, BYLINE: Good morning.

INSKEEP: What's going on?

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4:32pm

Wed June 18, 2014
Global Health

As Death Count Rises, Health Officials Work To Stem Ebola's Spread

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:08 pm

The World Health Organization is reporting that the Ebola virus has yet to be contained in West Africa. It's one of the largest Ebola outbreaks in decades — with over 500 cases, some 330 of which ended in death.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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5:06pm

Wed May 28, 2014
Shots - Health News

Thriving Towns In East Africa Are Good News For A Parasitic Worm

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 6:17 pm

Fishermen drag a net in Lake Malawi in 2012. About the size of New Jersey, the lake is home to hundreds of fish species and is considered one of the most biologically diverse lakes in the world.
Ding Haitao Xinhua/Landov

People trying to grow food and support their families on the shores of Lake Malawi are not only causing serious environmental problems, they're also causing a surge in a debilitating disease.

Thriving towns along the lake are changing the ecosystem in ways that are allowing a parasitic worm to flourish, researchers reported last week in the journal Trends in Parasitology.

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5:09pm

Tue May 20, 2014
News

CIA Announces Plans To End Fake Vaccination Programs

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 8:16 pm

The White House announced that the CIA will stop using fake vaccination programs to further its spy operations. The decision comes after leaders from U.S. public health schools brought the practice to light.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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5:45pm

Wed May 14, 2014
Shots - Health News

How U.S. Hospitals Are Planning To Stop The Deadly MERS Virus

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 9:09 am

Muslim pilgrims wear masks to prevent infection from the Middle East respiratory syndrome in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday.
Hasan Jamali AP

In the past month, Middle East respiratory syndrome has morphed from a little-known disease in the Arabian Peninsula to a major global health concern, with more than 300 cases in Saudi Arabia in April, 54 of them fatal.

Two cases have been reported in the U.S. as well — one in Indiana and one in Florida. Both men had worked in Saudi Arabia hospitals. So far, neither has spread the respiratory disease to others.

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4:21pm

Tue May 13, 2014
Shots - Health News

Gene Sequencing Could One Day Make Malaria Easier To Treat

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 2:30 pm

A health official takes a blood sample from a child's finger for a malaria test at a clinic in Bong Ti Lang village on the Thai-Myanmar border.
Narong Sangnak EPA /LANDOV

Malaria has proved one of the hardest diseases on the planet to treat. The World Health Organization estimates there are nearly 200 million cases each year, and the parasitic infection is blamed for some 700,000 deaths annually.

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6:22pm

Mon May 5, 2014
Shots - Health News

The Comeback Of Polio Is A Public Health Emergency

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 4:25 pm

On the outskirts of Islamabad, a Pakistani health worker vaccinates an Afghan refugee against polio.
Muhammed Muheisen AP

It is, says the World Health Organization, "an extraordinary event." Polio is spreading to a degree that constitutes a public health emergency.

The global drive to wipe out the virus had driven the number of polio cases down from 300,000 in the late 1980s to just 417 cases last year. The World Health Organization has set a goal of wiping out polio by 2018.

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4:02pm

Mon May 5, 2014
Global Health

To Fight Polio Outbreaks, WHO Lays Down New Rules

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 9:31 am

The World Health Organization is warning that recent outbreaks of polio in the Middle East, Africa and Asia mark a setback to the decades-long effort to eradicate the disease. In response, the WHO has declared a world health emergency. It's asking Syria, Pakistan and Cameroon — current polio hot spots — to require all travelers leaving those countries to show proof of vaccination.

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3:30am

Wed April 30, 2014
Shots - Health News

Mysterious Kidney Disease Slays Farmworkers In Central America

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 7:32 am

Loved ones express their grief at the burial of Ramon Romero Ramirez in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua, January 2013. The 36-year-old died of chronic kidney disease after working in the sugar cane fields for 12 years. Ramirez is part of a steady procession of deaths among cane workers.
Ed Kashi VII

Manuel Antonio Tejarino used to be a lean, fit field hand. During the sugar cane harvest, he'd swing a machete for hours, hacking at the thick, towering stalks.

Now Tejarino is slumped in a faded, cloth deck chair outside his sister's house on the outskirts of Chichigalpa, Nicaragua.

Tejarino's kidneys are failing. He's grown gaunt. His arms droop by his side. In the tropical midday heat, he alternates between wiping sweat off his brow and pulling a sweatshirt up over his bare chest.

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4:04pm

Fri April 25, 2014
Global Health

Deadly Disease Out Of Middle East Draws Concerns Of Pandemic

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 4:21 pm

Cases of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, are on the rise in Saudi Arabia. That's prompting concern among public health officials that the MERS virus has become more virulent.

6:48pm

Thu April 24, 2014
Shots - Health News

Why The U.S. Is Worried About A Deadly Middle Eastern Virus

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 7:52 am

Fearful of catching the MERS virus, workers wear masks during a soccer match on April 22 at King Fahad stadium in Riyadh.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

UPDATE at 4:17 p.m. Friday: Saudi Arabia has confirmed 313 cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, including 92 deaths, the Ministry of Health said Friday. Of note, one of the 14 new patients caught the virus while working as a hospital receptionist.

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