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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4:00am

Sat December 28, 2013
Parallels

Rushing Toward Chaos: Covering The Aftermath Of Typhoon Haiyan

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 6:00 pm

A boy stands in the ruins of the leveled a neighborhood in Tacloban. Food and water supplies were almost nonexsistent in the days immediately after the storm.
David Gilkey NPR

It felt like a dream.

The Marines kept flying over us all night long. Their hulking C-130 cargo planes rattled the tarp we'd jerry-rigged above our heads. NPR photographer David Gilkey and I were lying in sleeping bags next to the runway of the destroyed Tacloban airport. We'd arrived a few hours earlier in the back of one of those military aircraft. Now we were just waiting for daybreak.

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7:23am

Sun December 15, 2013
Global Health

They Shot For Zero, But Couldn't Squash Polio In 2013

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 1:43 pm

A polio worker vaccinates a child in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, in October.
Arshad Arbab EPA/Landov

As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year. Numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we're living in, right now. Over the next two weeks, you'll hear the stories behind numbers, ranging from zero to 1 trillion.

The lowest number of polio cases ever recorded in the world during one year was 223. And 2013 was on track for an even lower number.

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4:55pm

Thu December 5, 2013
Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

Nelson Mandela, Inspiration To World, Dies At 95

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 10:57 am

Former South African President Nelson Mandela, one of the world's most respected statesmen, died Thursday at 95.
Denis Farrell AP

Nelson Mandela, who was born in a country that viewed him as a second-class citizen, died Thursday as one of the most respected statesmen in the world. He was 95.

President Jacob Zuma announced the death in a televised speech.

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2:38pm

Wed November 20, 2013
Parallels

A Chronic Problem In Disaster Zones: No Fuel

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 6:00 pm

Filipino men stand in line to fill containers with gas in Tacloban, Philippines, on Sunday. The area experienced widespread gas shortages in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
David Gilkey NPR

In the wake of any natural disaster, there are almost always shortages of fuel. Even in the United States, gas stations shut down during blackouts because there's no electricity to run their pumps.

It was no different in the Philippines, where practically no fuel was available after Typhoon Haiyan struck. Aid agencies said the lack of gasoline was a major impediment to relief efforts.

One small American nonprofit called the Fuel Relief Fund is trying to change that.

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3:00am

Mon November 18, 2013
Typhoon Haiyan Devastates The Philippines

Catholics In Philippines Turn To Church To Cope With Typhoon

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:03 pm

A Filipino woman prays at morning Mass at Santo Nino church, which was damaged by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, Philippines, on Sunday.
David Gilkey NPR

Across the ravaged center of the Philippines on Sunday, people flocked to Mass, often in churches that had been severely damaged or destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan.

In many villages in Leyte province, the only structures that survived the storm were churches. Spires and statues of angels look out over fields of smashed houses and twisted typhoon debris.

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1:12pm

Sat November 16, 2013
Typhoon Haiyan Devastates The Philippines

Photos: A Crippled Hospital Aids Desperate Survivors

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 5:50 pm

David P. Gilkey NPR

In the typhoon-ravaged heart of the Philippines, many hospitals were badly damaged or destroyed by the storm. NPR photojournalist David Gilkey and reporter Jason Beaubien visited one battered hospital that continues to serve patients.

More than a week after the storm, the staff at Divine Word Hospital are simultaneously trying to patch up the hospital and take care of patients.

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1:22pm

Tue November 12, 2013
Parallels

Do For-Profit Schools Give Poor Kenyans A Real Choice?

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 12:54 pm

Young students in a Bridge International Academy school in Nairobi, in September. On the surface, there's little to distinguish these schools from others in the developing world. But Bridge's model relies on teachers reading lessons from tablets.
Frederic Courbet for NPR

Bridge International Academies has set up more than 200 schools in Kenya over the past four years, and plans to open 50 more in January.

Using a school-in-a-box model, Bridge's founders say it gives primary schoolkids a quality education for roughly $5 a month.

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4:52pm

Mon November 11, 2013
Shots - Health News

Aid Groups Struggle To Reach Survivors Of Typhoon Haiyan

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 7:08 am

Military personnel from the U.S. and the Philippines unload relief goods at the Tacloban airport, Nov. 11, 2013. Some reports estimate that 10,000 people may have died in the city of Tacloban.
Ted Aljibe AFP/Getty Images

Aid agencies are scrambling to try to get water and food to people in the Philippines who've been left homeless or injured by Typhoon Haiyan.

But reaching some of the areas ravaged by the intense storm is proving difficult. Even when aid can make it onto the islands, it's still not clear what supplies are needed the most.

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11:34am

Fri November 8, 2013
Shots - Health News

Polio In The Middle East And Africa Could Threaten Europe

A doctor vaccinates a child against polio at a health clinic in Damascus, Syria, on Nov. 6. To stop the disease from spreading beyond Syria, health officials plan to vaccinate 20 million children in the region.
Youssef Badawi EPA /LANDOV

Polio outbreaks in the Middle East and Africa could spread to Europe if precautions aren't taken, researchers say.

The recent discovery of the poliovirus in Syria, Somalia and Israel should be a wake-up call for European health officials, according to epidemiologist Martin Eichner at the University of Tuebingen in Germany.

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5:25pm

Thu October 31, 2013
Shots - Health News

Polio Has Not Returned To South Sudan, After All

We reported Wednesday that the polio outbreak in Somalia had spread to South Sudan. But health officials say that they were mistaken. There have been no polio cases in the country since 2009.

The World Health Organization said previously that it had confirmed three cases of polio in South Sudan back in August.

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3:29am

Wed October 30, 2013
Shots - Health News

Violence, Chaos Let Polio Creep Back Into Syria And Horn Of Africa

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 5:27 pm

The Ethiopian government has set up about a dozen vaccination booths along its thousand-mile border with Somalia.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Update on Thursday, Oct. 31, 6:30 p.m. ET:

A spokesman for the World Health Organization said Thursday that it was mistaken about the polio outbreak in Somalia spreading to South Sudan. The virus has been detected in Kenya and Ethiopia this year. But South Sudan has not recorded a polio case since 2009.

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8:27am

Mon October 21, 2013
Shots - Health News

First Polio Cases Since 1999 Suspected In Syria

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 9:10 am

Syrian opposition fighters sit on the front line in the city of Deir Ezzor on Oct. 13. Ongoing violence has ravaged the city since March 2011.
AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization is investigating a cluster of possible polio cases in an eastern province of Syria.

If the cases are confirmed, they'd be the first ones in the war-torn nation in more than a decade. The country eliminated polio in 1999.

Syria used to have one of the highest polio vaccination rates in the region. If the virus has returned, it would be a high-profile example of the ramifications of the collapse of Syria's once-vaunted public health system.

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10:54am

Thu September 5, 2013
Shots - Health News

Tuberculosis Hitched A Ride When Early Humans Left Africa

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 12:55 pm

Signs of tuberculosis have been found in ancient Egyptian mummies, such as this one in London's British Museum.
Klafubra Wikimedia.org

Dogs often get credit for being humans' constant companions. But dogs have nothing on tuberculosis bacteria.

TB and people have been trapped in a relationship that's been going on for thousands of years — perhaps even tens of thousands of years, scientists said earlier this week.

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11:33am

Wed September 4, 2013
Shots - Health News

Chronic Illnesses Outpace Infections As Big Killers Worldwide

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 3:41 pm

Percentage of deaths each year due to neonatal disorders around the globe.
Courtesy of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

People around the world are getting healthier and living longer.

Infectious diseases are declining around the globe. But at the same time, chronic health problems are on the rise, particularly in developing nations.

These are some of the key findings in the latest reports released by the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

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2:24am

Mon September 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

To Keep Polio At Bay, Israel Revaccinates A Million Kids

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 9:10 am

In early August, Israel launched a mass campaign to vaccinate children against polio, including this little girl at a clinic in Rahat.
David Buimovitch AFP/Getty Images

Israel is in the midst of a massive, emergency immunization drive of all children under the age of 9 against polio.

Why?

Health workers detected the virus in southern Israel in February. Since then, they've found it in 85 different sewage samples across the country, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative said Wednesday. Yet so far, no children have gotten sick or been paralyzed by the virus.

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