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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6:20pm

Tue April 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

How To Get Rid Of Polio For Good? There's A $5 Billion Plan

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 9:56 pm

A child is immunized against polio at the health clinic in a farming village in northern Nigeria. The procedure involves pinching two drops of the vaccine into the child's mouth. For full protection, the child needs three doses, spaced out over time.
David Gilkey NPR

Polio is on the verge of being eliminated. Last year there were just over 200 cases of polio, and they occurred in just two remote parts of the world — northern Nigeria and the rugged Afghan-Pakistan border region.

A new $5.5 billion plan being pushed by the World Health Organization strives to eliminate polio entirely, phase out vaccination campaigns and secure polio vaccine stockpiles in case the virus somehow manages to re-emerge.

If the effort is successful, polio would be just the second disease in human history, after smallpox, to be eliminated by medical science.

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10:14am

Fri March 15, 2013
Shots - Health News

Power Shift Under Way As Middle Class Expands In Developing World

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 9:00 am

Brookings Institution

"The meek shall inherit the earth" — that seems to be the latest message from the United Nations Development Program.

Their 2013 Human Development Report chronicles the recent, rapid expansion of the middle class in the developing world. It also predicts that over the next two decades growth in the so-called "Global South" will dramatically shift economic and political power away from Europe and North America.

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3:42am

Thu February 28, 2013
Shots - Health News

What Happened To The Aid Meant To Rebuild Haiti?

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 4:39 pm

Many homes that were rebuilt after the earthquake in 2010 are even more dangerous than the original ones. This three-story home was put up after the quake but is already slated for demolition to make way for an 18-unit housing project.
David Gilkey NPR

After a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, governments and foundations from around the world pledged more than $9 billion to help get the country back on its feet.

Only a fraction of the money ever made it. And Haiti's President Michel Martelly says the funds aren't "showing results."

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3:25am

Fri February 22, 2013
Shots - Health News

Treating HIV Patients Protects Whole Community

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 9:51 am

HIV drugs not only can keep patients healthy but also can stop the sexual transmission of the virus. Here an HIV-positive mother picks up medications at a hospital outside Johannesburg, South Africa.
Alexander Joe AFP/Getty Images

Over the past few decades, one of the most perplexing questions in global health is how to stop HIV.

There have been campaigns involving condoms, abstinence and even the circumcision of all men younger than 46. But one relatively new strategy, called treatment as prevention, is causing quite a buzz.

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3:01am

Thu February 14, 2013
Latin America

Will 'Made In Haiti' Factories Improve Life In Haiti?

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 3:05 am

Workers prepare the foundation for a new warehouse and manufacturing facility at the Caracol Industrial Park in northern Haiti. The park, which opened last year, is still under construction.
David Gilkey NPR

Three years after the devastating Port-au-Prince earthquake, one of the largest international relief projects in Haiti isn't anywhere near where the quake hit. It's an industrial park on the north coast halfway between Cap-Haitien and the border with the Dominican Republic.

Aid agencies are pouring millions of dollars into the project to encourage people to move out of the overcrowded capital and create jobs. Critics, however, say the jobs don't pay enough to lift people out of poverty.

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10:47am

Tue February 12, 2013
Shots - Health News

Attacks On Health Workers Put Fight To End Polio Under Fire

A Nigerian health commissioner Dr. Sani Malam vaccinates a child for polio during a national immunization drive in Bauchi, Nigeria, last week.
Deji Yake EPA /Landov

The global effort to eradicate polio has reached a bizarre stage: More people have been gunned down recently over the disease than actually infected with it.

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8:34am

Wed February 6, 2013
Shots - Health News

Nigeria Moves To Clean Up Lead Pollution From Gold Mines

A boy works at an illegal gold mine in northern Nigeria. Lead from these mines has sickened thousands of children in region.
David Gilkey NPR

Finally, the Nigerian government is fulfilling its promise to help thousands of kids, who have been exposed to toxic levels of lead.

After months of delay and red tape, the government has released $4 million to clean up lead in soil near illegal gold mines in northern Nigeria.

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1:21pm

Tue January 29, 2013
Latin America

For Your Next Caribbean Vacation, Haiti ... Maybe?

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 2:29 pm

Mont Joli Hotel looks out over Cap-Haitian in northern Haiti. The owner says he's usually fully booked and plans to double the hotel's capacity. Haiti is trying to expand its tourism infrastructure and tap in to the multibillion-dollar Caribbean travel market.
David Gilkey NPR

Haiti used to be a tourist hot spot in the Caribbean. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton regularly recounts how he and Hillary honeymooned in Haiti in 1975. There used to be a hopping Club Med just outside Port-au-Prince, but it closed in the '90s.

Now, the Haitian government is trying to revive some of its former allure, launching an aggressive campaign to market the poorest country in the hemisphere as a vacation hub.

President Michel Martelly says tourism could be a major driver of economic growth and could help lift Haitians out of poverty.

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4:46pm

Fri January 11, 2013
Shots - Health News

Despite Billions In Aid, Many Haitians Still Live In Squalid Camps

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 9:06 am

Jacqueline Syra has been living in the La Piste camp for three years. She says she has no idea when she will be able to leave.
David Gilkey NPR

Saturday marks the third anniversary of the powerful earthquake that destroyed much of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The quake killed roughly 200,000 people and left 1.5 million Haitians homeless.

Despite billions of dollars in international aid and pledges to help Haiti rebuild from the disaster, very little new, permanent housing has been built. And about 350,000 Haitians are still living in squalid, makeshift camps — where they face an array of health challenges.

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3:48am

Wed January 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

Mosquito Maven Takes Bites For Malaria Research

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 11:47 am

Chiara Andolina, a malaria researcher in Thailand, feeds her mosquito colony by letting the insects bite her right arm. These mosquitoes are picky and will dine only on live human blood.
Ben de la Cruz NPR

Most of us do everything possible to avoid mosquitoes. But one Italian researcher literally sacrifices her right arm to keep the lowly insects alive.

Chiara Adolina is studying a new malaria drug, and she needs the little suckers for her experiments. So she feeds them each day with her own blood.

She extends her arm into a mosquito cage to give the insects "breakfast." Several dozen mosquitoes spread across her forearm and jam their proboscises into her skin. "Can you see how fat they become?" she says. "Look at that tummy."

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4:35pm

Wed December 19, 2012
Shots - Health News

How The U.S. Stopped Malaria, One Cartoon At A Time

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:28 pm

The U.S. Army distributed a monthly pinup calendar to GIs, which encouraged them to protect themselves from malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
Cartoon by Frank Mack for the U.S. Army. Courtesy of the Images from the History of Medicine.

"Her business is robbery and coldblooded murder ... they call her Annie Awful ... She's a thief and a killer. She stops at nothing."

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3:48am

Wed December 19, 2012
Shots - Health News

Fake Malaria Drugs Fuel Rise Of Drug-Resistant Disease

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

In rural areas of Myanmar, villagers can buy inexpensive packets of drugs, called Ya Chut, when they have malaria. But these local remedies often don't contain adequate amounts of malaria medicines.
Ben de la Cruz NPR

Counterfeit drugs are a growing scourge around the world. They're generating millions of dollars in revenue for organized crime and fueling the rise of drug-resistant parasites.

Anti-malarials are among the most popular drugs to fake. But these faux pharmaceuticals are particularly dangerous because malaria can kill a person in a matter of days.

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12:40pm

Tue December 18, 2012
Shots - Health News

A View From The Ground: Thailand Confronts Drug-Resistant Malaria

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:16 pm

Dr. Aun Pyae Phyo examines a baby at the Whampa malaria clinic on the Thailand-Myanmar border.
Ben de la Cruz NPR

Global efforts to combat malaria are under threat from new strains of drug-resistant malaria, which are cropping up in Southeast Asia.

Over the last decade, the number of malaria deaths around the world has dropped sharply, from just over 1 million in 2000 to roughly 600,000 last year.

Much of that progress is due to the widespread use of drugs containing artemisinin. The new malaria drugs quickly kill the parasite.

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3:36pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Shots - Health News

Nigeria Pressured To Clean Up Lead-Contaminated Villages

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 3:57 pm

A boy works at an illegal gold mine in northern Nigeria. Lead from these mines has sickened thousands of children in the region.
David Gilkey NPR

The Nigerian government has been slow to fulfill a promise it made last spring. And, its sluggishness is putting kids at risk for lead poisoning, the advocacy group Humans Rights Watch says.

Last May, the Nigerian government pledged roughly $5 million to clean up lead contamination around illegal gold mines in northwest Nigeria. But so far, that money hasn't been released.

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2:59pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Shots - Health News

A Polio Outbreak In Pakistan Reveals Gaps In Vaccination

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:55 am

A child is inoculated with the polio vaccine at a traffic checkpoint just outside Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. Roadside vaccinations help health workers reach children in mobile populations.
Jackie Northam NPR

Pakistan has made a lot of progress this year in wiping out polio. There are signs that one type of poliovirus is gone and transmission of other strains seems to be slowing.

But a recent outbreak of polio there has health officials concerned about the overall effectiveness of the effort to eliminate polio in that country.

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