Global Health

Shots - Health Blog
11:36 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Obesity epidemic may have peaked in U.S.

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 10:08 am

The nation's obesity epidemic appears to have hit a plateau, according to the latest federal data released Tuesday.

Obesity soared in the U.S. during the 1980s and 1990s, doubling among adults and tripling among children. That raised widespread alarm and debate about the causes and possible solutions. Obesity can increase the risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other serious health problems.

Read more
Humanosphere
4:34 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

Update: Seattle man accused of helping fund Sudan massacre calls it defense

Law and order in South Sudan
babasteve Flickr

The Seattle man who helped fund a massacre in South Sudan says the militia-style attack was a defensive action against a tribe that had attacked his tribe without warning.

Gai Bol Thong, a member of the Nuer tribe, recently gained international attention for raising funding to support local militia groups that have killed thousands of members of the Murle tribe. The attacks were in retaliation for the Murle attacks that have killed hundreds of Nuer, including women and children.

“The Murle made genocide on us. We do not kill old people, women and children,” he said.

But somebody did, according to the news reports.

(Listen to Tom's interview with Gai Bol Thong, click the audio link above.)

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
11:50 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Technophilia Seattle swimming hard against the e-waste stream

A young e-waste scavenger in Lagos, Nigeria.
Basel Action Network

Americans like to buy the latest devices and that makes us happy ... but it also makes us the biggest contributor to the global problem of electronic waste.

However, Seattle is home to two entreprenuers who are effectively swimming against the e-waste stream: Charles Brennick of Interconnection and Craig Lorch of Total Reclaim.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
10:39 am
Wed January 11, 2012

A dozen cases of tuberculosis that resists all drugs found in India

An image of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria captured with an electron microscope.
CDC

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 6:55 am

Tuberculosis specialists in India have diagnosed infections in a dozen patients in Mumbai that are unfazed by the three first-choice TB drugs and all nine second-line drugs.

The doctors are calling them "totally drug-resistant TB," and the infections are essentially incurable with all available medicines.

Read more
Humanosphere
3:02 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

The desire for the latest e-gizmo is poisoning the poor worldwide

Chinese woman sorts electronic waste.
Basel Action Network

“This is against international law but not against the law in the U.S.”

The media love-fest with digital gizmos is moving from the high-pitched holiday phase (electronic devices are always the top gifts for Christmas) into a smaller, but more intense hysterical phase this week with the opening of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Tuesday.

When we buy new gizmos, we usually want to get rid of the old ones. Electronic waste (aka e-waste) is a surprisingly large, toxic and growing burden inflicted, like many such afflictions, mostly on poor people in poor countries.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
4:41 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Humanitarian insider reveals unsavory truths

It's not enough to just get your hands dirty when trying to help the poor, says one insider.
Julien Harneis Flickr

An anonymous humanitarian expert with years in the field writes about the things more “ordinary people” should understand about humanitarian aid:

"There’s always some woman at the Christmas party who, once she discovers what I do for a living, wants to talk my ear off about some awful idea she has about how to help poor children in El Salvador or Cambodia."

Read more on Humanosphere.

Mount Rainier killing
11:49 am
Thu January 5, 2012

Flags lower Tuesday for Mount Rainier ranger

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire has directed that flags at state buildings fly at half-staff Tuesday in memory of the ranger shot to death on New Year's Day at Mount Rainier National Park.

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Humanosphere
5:00 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

BBC looks at 'secretive' and powerful Gates Foundation

Bill and Melinda Gates speak at Malaria Forum, with moderator ABC News' Richard Besser
Tom Paulson KPLU

The BBC report is a nice overview of how the Seattle philanthropy, in the last decade-and-a-half, has emerged to dominate the humanitarian arena. But it doesn’t really break much new ground and follows on a number of similar, or harder-hitting reports, such as this much-cited series done last fall by Alliance magazine called Living with the Gates Foundation.

“What we think is global health, how we define this mission, is increasingly decided by a relatively small number of Americans living in Seattle, Washington,” Laurie Garrett, with the Council on Foreign Relations, told the BBC.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
4:51 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

NW entrepreneurs focus on saving lives with better stoves

Women in India using an Envirofit clean cookstove to reduce indoor air pollution.
Associated Press

More than a century after the discovery of electricity, billions – yes, billions – of people still heat and cook with wood fires. In the developing world, indoor air pollution from smoke is blamed for nearly 2 million deaths per year.

Burning wood, crop waste, charcoal or dung does the damage, filling homes with smoke and blackening walls. It’s women and children who suffer the most, because they are the ones tending the fires.

But it’s not an easy a problem to fix.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
4:34 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Feds fret over publication of virus information, but should they?

As grim as it sounds, there are lots of horrifically deadly bugs out there — like Ebola — that never seem to get very far due to poor transmission and that's something to keep in mind in this debate.
Flikr

The U.S. government is opposing full publication by scientists of methods used to create a mutant form of bird influenza based on the fear it could be used by terrorists to launch a deadly pandemic.

There are a few reasons why, as reasonable as this may sound, many see the government’s position as unworkable and inappropriate.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
11:58 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Why are so many young Americans (more than 1 in 3) being arrested?

Around the world, governments that arrest large portions of their citizens point their finger at the United State's rate of incarceration. Now, it looks like we're becoming a leader in arresting young people as well.
Andrew Bossi Flickr

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. That detail gives our country a bad reputation around the globe.

Now, it seems our reputation for incarceration won't be helped by this new fact: "By age 23, up to 41 percent of American adolescents and young adults have been arrested at least once for something other than a minor traffic violation," according to a report by ABC News.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere in Rwanda
10:09 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Rwanda dispatches: A land known for genocide, gorillas and promise

(In November, KPLU's Humanosphere writer Tom Paulson traveled to Rwanda on a grant from the International Reporting Project to explore how that African country has risen above its troubled past to become an economic bright spot on the continent. Below is Tom's wrapup and links to the stories he wrote about Rwanda.)

Traveling with a dozen or so other journalists on a fact-finding visit to Africa’s “success story” – Rwanda – we took time out to go visit the famous mountain gorillas.

Read more
Humanosphere: Rwanda Special Coverage
11:41 am
Wed November 16, 2011

KPLU's Tom Paulson up close and personal with gorillas in Rwanda

No visit to Rwanda is complete without seeing the mountain gorillas. Here’s one who came to have a closer look at us.

After a whirlwind week of meeting with Rwandan officials, business leaders, local journalists, activists and others in the capital city of Kigali, we took off for a few days to journey high up into the Birunga mountain range to the northern town of Kinigi, near the Congo and Uganda borders.

I’m traveling with a group of American journalists sponsored by the International Reporting Project. Our aim is to gain perspective on this country so many associate only with its genocidal past – but which many others today dub an “African success story.”

Read more on Humanosphere.org

Global Health
4:12 pm
Wed November 9, 2011

Rwanda is empowering girls, with a little help from Seattle

The students at Gashora Academy, first class of the Rwanda Girls Initiative.
RGI

It has become a mantra in aid and development circles today to say that empowering girls is the single most effective means of fighting poverty, inequity and any number of ills in poor countries.

And in Rwanda, Paul Kagame’s government is clearly walking the talk on girls and women — and a number of Seattle organizations are assisting in the gender revolution happening here.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Election 2011
2:53 pm
Wed November 9, 2011

Washington liquor employees brace for the unemployment line

Control Board clerk Lidia Giusti uses a metal bar to straighten rows of liquor on shelves in Oct. 31 at a new state liquor store in the West Seattle neighborhood of Seattle.
Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The mood in state liquor stores across Washington is subdued. More than nine-hundred state employees face lay-off with the passage of Costco-backed Initiative 1183 .

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