Global Health

Humanosphere
11:41 am
Mon March 5, 2012

Changemakers: Matthew Schneider on the hunt for what truly works

Quick BIO: Matthew T. Schneider, 25, is a research consultant for the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C. He has a master of public health degree from the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health.

This is the first installment of a new series on KPLU's Humanosphere:  “Changemakers” explores how young people, connected and globally aware, are working to change the world.

For Matthew T. Schneider, the struggle to ease the suffering of people afflicted by HIV/AIDS or sickened by malaria is something of a numbers game. Schneider, who since October has worked at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C., is sifting mountains of data to understand how to best help sick, impoverished people in developing nations.

Read more on Humanosphere.

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Global Health
3:26 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

A thing to do tonight (With NW beer!): Toast to global health!

Water 1st

Live music, great local beers, food, dancing and prizes all in the name of bringing clean water to families in Ethiopia. Where do I sign up?

Tonight the non-profit organization Water 1st is hosting their annual “Water 1st — Beer 2nd” fundraiser at the Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion. The event begins at 7:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.

This event welcomes like-minded individuals who are passionate about ending global poverty and providing the opportunity to share humanitarian aid to families in Gonbisa Kussaye, Ethiopia, all the while enjoying an evening of fun (you man even see grown men in grass skirts).

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Humanosphere
5:14 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Gates Foundation calls for 'wacky' new ways to say that aid works

Gates et al. are looking for new ways to communicate.
JSmith Flickr

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation officially calls it the Grand Challenges Exploration program and it was initially launched to fund unorthodox — some might even say "wacky" — scientific research projects aimed at solving problems in global health and development.

This week, the philanthropy is asking for a new round of proposals from all you creative types. In addition to the standard calls to optimize crop yields and improve vaccines, this round adds a new not-so-technologically geeky category into the mix: Advocacy and storytelling.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
3:21 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Seattle scientists to test world’s first vaccine against ‘black fever’

Wikimedia Commons

There are many neglected diseases out there but not many as prevalent or as ravaging as visceral leishmaniasis, also known as black fever or kala azar — the ‘parasitic version of AIDS.’

Scientists at Seattle’s Infectious Disease Research Institute will soon begin testing an experimental vaccine they have designed to work against the most deadly form of this common parasitic disease spread by the bite of sand flies.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
12:38 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

WHO's afraid of chicken? Some want mutant bird flu strain kept top secret

No laughing matter: Some worry a mutant strain of bird flu could turn this chicken into a weapon of mass destruction.
4blueyes Flickr

Seems silly to talk about weaponized chickens, but that’s exactly the kind of talk world leaders have become afraid of.

The latest debate raging among scientists is whether to publish the results of recent experiments done on the bird flu virus. Those experiments have created a super deadly version of the H5N1 virus that could potentially be loosed by chickens (or other birds) and kill many tens of millions of people.

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Humanosphere
11:31 am
Tue February 14, 2012

USAID story renews fears over mixing aid with foreign policy

Is it foreign aid or covert aid?
johanoomen Flickr

Remember when the CIA did that fake vaccination scheme in Pakistan, the one that many predicted (correctly) would undermine confidence in American health assistance and other aid programs?

Well, there’s another ongoing saga that illustrates the cost of mixing up foreign aid with foreign policy, especially when we use covert means to achieve foreign policy goals.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Research News
9:10 am
Sat February 11, 2012

Deconstructing Dengue: How Old Is That Mosquito?

Mosquitoes like this one can carry the virus that causes dengue fever.
James Gathany CDC Public Health Image Library

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 8:46 am

Scientists can spend years working on problems that at first may seem esoteric and rather pointless. For example, there's a scientist in Arizona who's trying to find a way to measure the age of wild mosquitoes.

As weird as that sounds, the work is important for what it will tell scientists about the natural history of mosquitoes. It also could have major implications for human health.

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Global Health
1:59 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

'Three Cups of Tea' and 'deceit' has international aid in hot spotlight

Attorneys who accuse Greg Mortenson of defrauding readers in his best-selling "Three Cups of Tea" say his case is no different from that of James Frey, who admitted on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" that he lied in his memoir "A Million Little Pieces."

That lawsuit ended in a settlement that offered refunds to buyers of the book.

The high profile fight over Mortenson’s book and questions about his work has aid agencies worried, said KPLU’s global health and development writer Tom Paulson.

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Humanosphere
2:37 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

5 reasons not to panic about the bird flu experiments

It’s relatively easy for government officials, politicians or the media to demand risk reduction at the sacrifice of a select few (medical researchers) or some abstract idea. It’s much more difficult to make the case for science.

The scientific community is in serious kerfuffle right now about whether or not to publish the details of certain bird flu virus experiments.

Angry words are flying back and forth between experts – much like the proverbial behavior of chickens with their heads cut off. One commentator for Scientific American has even suggested banning all such research.

It’s all a bit much, and probably not good for science or for our global health. I would like to offer five reasons not to panic.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Around the Nation
5:55 pm
Sat February 4, 2012

Lost Malcolm X speech heard again 50 years later

Richard Holbrooke and Katharine Pierce as students in 1961 at Brown University.
Katharine Pierce

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 2:57 pm

Last semester, Brown senior Malcolm Burnley took a narrative writing course. One of the assignments was to write a fictional story based on something true — and that true event had to be found inside the university archives.

"So I went to the archives and started flipping through dusty compilations of student newspapers, and there was this old black-and-white photo of when Malcolm X came to speak," Burnley says. "There was one short article that corresponded to it, and very little else."

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Humanosphere
4:51 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Study raising malaria death toll 'radically changes the picture'

In this 2003 file photo, patients wait to hear the results of their tests for Malaria, at a hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Malaria may be killing about twice as many people as experts previously thought, new research suggests.
The Associated Press

A new global estimate of malaria deaths by researchers in Seattle has revealed the death toll is much greater than most experts had thought — and is not, as had been universally assumed, mostly a killer of children.

The study found more than 1.2 million people died from malaria in 2010, nearly twice the official estimate put out by the World Health Organization, and more than a third of the deaths were in adults.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
1:18 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

Jimmy Carter - serpent slayer and global health pioneer - hits Seattle

President Jimmy Carter speaks at World Affairs Council 60th Anniversary event in Seattle on Tuesday.
Tom Paulson KPLU

Former President Jimmy Carter is in Seattle, having spoken last night at the World Affairs Council’s 60th anniversary celebration and speaking today at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation about Guinea worm.

Guinea worm is a human parasite that eats its way through the human body and emerges a year later, incapacitating people with the pain of completing its life cycle. It’s horrible.

Jimmy Carter and his team at the Carter Center are close now to completely ridding the world of this horrific disease. It’s a great story, and perhaps of much broader significance to global health than many might realize.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
9:28 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Jimmy Carter helps Seattle celebrate World Affairs Council

Former President Jimmy Carter at The University of Washington in 2006.
The Associated Press

There’s a lot of talk in recent years about Seattle being a global city. That vision goes back a long ways. Seattle’s World Affairs Council is celebrating its 60th birthday this week. 

Former President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter helped mark the milestone, in front of a sold-out Paramount Theater last night. 

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Global Health
2:32 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

More than a million condoms recalled in South Africa

Condoms like this one were given out during the African National Congress party's centenary celebrations in early Now a South African health official says that 1.35 million of them are being recalled amid charges some broke during sex.
Denis Farrell The Associated Press

The party may be over, but the trouble may just be starting in South Africa.

The health department in Free State province is recalling 1.35 million condoms that may not be up to snuff.

The affected condoms — a government brand called Choice — were distributed early this month as part of the festivities marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the African National Congress.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
10:31 am
Tue January 31, 2012

Guidelines for Dispatches from the Field

These are first-person accounts of events, experiences, problems, successes or even mini-profiles of the people encountered in the field who have made a particular impression on the writer. These stories should ideally include photos and possibly video. The purpose is to share the human-level, personal experience of working in the field on our platform, which is capable of reaching a broad and diverse audience.

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