Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is a journalist and broadcaster from Ghana who reports for NPR News on issues and developments related to West Africa. She spent her early years in Ghana, Italy, Britain and Kenya.

Quist-Arcton has lived and worked in the U.K., France, Ivory Coast, U.S., South Africa and most recently Senegal, traveling all over Africa as a journalist, broadcaster, commentator and host.

After completing high school in Britain, she took a degree in French studies with international relations and Spanish at the London School of Economics (LSE) and went on to study radio journalism at the Polytechnic of Central London, with two internships at the BBC.

Quist-Arcton joined the BBC in 1985, working at a number of regional radio stations all over Britain, moving two years later to the renowned BBC World Service at Bush House in London, as a producer and host in the African Service. She traveled and reported throughout Africa.

She spent the year leading up to 1990 in Paris, on a BBC journalist exchange with Radio France International (RFI), working in "Monito" — a service supplying reports and interviews about Africa to African radio stations, and with RFI's English (for Africa) Service as a host, reporter and editor.

Later in 1990, Quist-Arcton won one of the BBC's coveted foreign correspondents posts, moving to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to head the corporation's West Africa bureau. From there, she covered 24 countries, straddling the Sahara to the heart of the continent — crisscrossing the continent from Mauritania, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali, to Zaire and Congo-Brazzaville, via Chad, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. She contributed to all BBC radio and television outlets, covering the flowering of democracy in the region, as well as the outbreak of civil wars, revolutions and coups, while always keeping an eye on the "other" stories about Africa that receive minimal media attention — including the continent's rich cultural heritage. Quist-Arcton also contributed to NPR programs during her reporting assignment in West and Central Africa.

After four years as BBC West Africa correspondent, she returned to Bush House in 1994, as a host and senior producer on the BBC World Service flagship programs, Newshour & Newsday (now The World Today), and as a contributing Africa specialist for other radio and TV output.

Quist-Arcton laced up her traveling shoes again in 1995 and relocated to Boston as a roving reporter for The World, a co-production between the BBC, Public Radio International (PRI) and WGBH. She lived in Cambridge and enjoyed getting to know Massachusetts and the rest of New England, learning a new language during winter, most of it related to snow!

For The World, she traveled around the United States, providing the program with an African journalist's perspective on North American life. She also spent six months as a roving Africa reporter, covering — among other events — the fall of President Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1997.

In 1998, after another stint back at BBC World Service, Quist-Arcton was appointed co-host of the South African Broadcasting Corporation's flagship radio drive-time show, PM Live, based in Johannesburg.

In 2000, she left the BBC to join allAfrica.com (allAfricaGlobal Media) as Africa correspondent, covering the continent's top stories, in all domains, and developing new radio shows for webcast and syndication to radio stations around the continent.

After six years in South Africa, Quist-Arcton joined NPR in November 2004 at the newly-created post of West Africa Correspondent, moving back to her home region, with a new base in Senegal.

Her passions are African art and culture, music, literature, open-air markets, antiques - and learning. She loves to travel and enjoys cycling and photography.

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Africa
11:03 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Cleared Of Murder, Pistorius Found Guilty Of Culpable Homicide

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

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Sports
4:40 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Oscar Pistorius Guilty Of Culpable Homicide In Girlfiend's Death

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 11:03 am

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

Goats and Soda
1:24 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Fast-Moving Ebola Slows Down Liberia's Economy

Not every business has been hurt by the Ebola epidemic: Stephen Kollie says his newspaper stand is thriving because people are hungry for the latest Ebola information. But many of his usual expatriate customers have left the country, he says.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 8:30 am

Postwar Liberia had struggled back onto its feet in the past decade, after the civil war, and was just catching its collective breath when Ebola landed. One of the lasting effects of Ebola on the country is likely to be its impact on the economy.

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Goats and Soda
2:32 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

In Liberia's Hard-Hit Lofa County, Ebola Continues To Take A Toll

Alieu P. Manor, 18, survived Ebola. He gazes into the room of his cousin, Varlee Kanneh, who was not so lucky.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 1:18 pm

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has hurt Liberia more than any other country. And within Liberia, no town has been hit harder than the primarily Muslim farming town of Barkedu, in Lofa County in the far north. Despite a population of just 8,000, the small, dusty town accounts for a large percentage of the country's more than 1,000 Ebola deaths to date. The virus has swept away entire families — children, women and men.

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Goats and Soda
11:43 am
Mon September 8, 2014

In The County Where Ebola First Struck Liberia, A Cry For Help

Morris Nyumah wanted to help his country fight Ebola, so he signed up to work as a hygienist at the Doctors Without Borders care center in Lofa County.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 6:46 am

Lush and green, Lofa was once the breadbasket of Liberia. But farming has slowed in the northern county. The reason is Ebola.

The virus reportedly first landed in Liberia when an infected person crossed the border into Lofa County from neighboring Guinea in March.

Doctors Without Borders is there to care for the sick.

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Goats and Soda
2:41 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Remembering Shacki: Liberia's Accidental Ebola Victim

Eva Nah raised her nephew Shacki from the age of 2, when he lost his parents. "Every day [when] I wake up I cry because I feel bad that Shacki has left me," she says.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 10:01 am

Sixteen-year-old Shacki Kamara was an accidental victim of Ebola. He didn't die of the virus, but if the virus hadn't struck Liberia, he might still be alive.

Kamara lived in West Point, a shantytown on a peninsula jutting out from the capital city of Monrovia. An Ebola holding center there was attacked on Aug. 16 and patients fled; on Aug. 20, the government imposed a lockdown.

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Goats and Soda
9:40 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Liberia's Information Minister Admits Mistakes, Defends Actions

Information minister Lewis Brown is proud of Liberia's strong response to Ebola but admits, "We think sometimes we could have done better — much quicker — to improve the response time."
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 11:17 am

For more than an hour, the Liberian government official took questions from NPR. Despite the tense times in his Ebola-stricken country, Lewis Brown, minister of information, cultural affairs and tourism, was welcoming and animated. His mood was upbeat, although not overly optimistic. He spoke with NPR's team in his office, furnished with black patent leather sofas. He was late for his next meeting because of the long interview but graciously dismissed any concerns we expressed about running late.

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Goats and Soda
1:17 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Calm After Ebola Storm: Quarantined Neighborhood Opens Up

A group sings to raise awareness about Ebola in Monrovia's West Point neighborhood.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 7:13 am

Residents in West Point are lined up, waiting impatiently for handouts of beer, parboiled rice and split peas.

The neighborhood around them is bustling with activity. Rows of tiny shacks and little shops are open for business. There's a traffic jam, as bright yellow, three-wheeled rickshaw taxis try to zoom up and down the narrow, main road.

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Crime In The City
1:16 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Ghanaian Mystery Writer Says 'It's Easy To Get Murdered In Accra'

Kwei Quartey sets one of the crime scenes in his second D.I. Dawson book in Agbogbloshie, an Accra slum.
Ofeibea Quist-Arcton NPR

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 7:41 am

White egrets swoop down on the Agbogbloshie Canal and stoop to pick at mounds of filth and trash in search of food. The clogged and stinky waterway dominates Agbogbloshie, the main shantytown in Accra, Ghana's capital city. You wonder how the birds manage to maintain white feathers as they wade in the putrid, muddy water.

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Africa
3:01 pm
Sun August 24, 2014

With Confirmed Cases In Congo, Ebola Now In 4 West African Nations

Originally published on Sun August 24, 2014 6:53 pm

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

Africa
2:23 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

West African Doctors Plead For Access To Experimental Ebola Serum

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 7:14 pm

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

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

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Goats and Soda
2:59 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Graphic Warnings: Ebola Posters Keep The Virus On People's Minds

How do you prevent the spread of Ebola? Wash your hands, avoid bush meat and don't touch corpses.
Ofeibea Quist-Arcton NPR

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 6:24 pm

The campaign is called "Kick Back Ebola." But the posters pack a punch.

Sierra Leone has reported over 700 suspected Ebola cases, more than any other country this year. To help stop the outbreak, health workers have put up Ebola awareness signs all over Sierra Leone's seaside capital of Freetown.

Posters are pasted on hospital walls and outside clinics. Banners flutter along main streets. The goal of the campaign is to keep the reality of Ebola — and how to detect it — very much alive in people's minds.

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Goats and Soda
3:41 pm
Sun August 10, 2014

Doctor Remembered For Dedication To Fighting Deadly Ebola

Dr. Sheik Humar Khan, who died of the disease he was helping to fight, posed for a picture in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, on June 25.
Umaru Fofana Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 9:12 am

Doctors and health workers in West Africa are especially vulnerable as they continue to battle to control the spread of Ebola, and dozens of them are dying.

The low for Sierra Leone came with the death of the country's campaigning "Ebola doctor," Dr. Sheik Humar Khan. Khan cared for dozens of patients before testing positive for Ebola and dying of the lethal virus late last month.

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Africa
5:47 am
Sun August 10, 2014

Sierra Leone Blockades 2 Districts In Attempt To Contain Ebola

Originally published on Sun August 10, 2014 9:54 am

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Africa
2:56 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Liberia And Sierra Leone Seal Off Ebola Epicenters With Troops

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 5:43 pm

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Africa
2:53 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

What You Need To Know About Sierra Leone And Ebola

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 5:09 pm

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

Africa
2:15 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Missing Air Algerie Flight Appears To Have Crashed In Mali

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 4:22 pm

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

Africa
4:44 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Young Pakistani Activist Urges Nigeria To Do More For Kidnapped Girls

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 8:32 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

When more than 250 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Islamist extremists in Nigeria, the president of Nigeria was accused of a slow response. That was three months ago. Now trust between the families of the girls and their government is all but gone. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

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The Salt
2:29 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

U.S. Customs Seize Giant African Snails Bound For Dinner Plates

A single snail from an air cargo shipment of 67 live snails that arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on July 1. Officials said that the 35 pounds of snails arrived from Nigeria along with paperwork stating they were for human consumption.
Greg Bartman AP

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 10:21 am

Oh no! Snails are getting a bad name in the U.S.

I'm not talking about the delicate garlic-and-butter escargots that the French favor and savor.

It's giant African land snails, also known as Archachatina marginata, banana rasp snails or a number of other names they go by.

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Parallels
2:02 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

In West Africa, Officials Target Ignorance And Fear Over Ebola

Government health workers administer blood tests to check for the Ebola virus in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 25.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 5:04 pm

There's growing concern in West Africa about the spread of the Ebola virus that has killed hundreds of people. Health ministers have formed a regional response, but fear and a lack of knowledge about Ebola threaten their efforts.

Liberian musicians are joining the campaign, taking to song to educate people about the Ebola virus. Their tune is called "Ebola in Town," and warns people to beware of close contact with those who fall ill. The song warns, "Don't touch your friend."

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Africa
2:02 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Extremist Group Claims Credit For Mass Kidnapping In Nigeria

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 4:35 pm

Nigerian Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram claimed credit for abducting more than 200 schoolgirls. The girls remain missing, and parents are pressing the government to find and bring them home. The president's wife has ordered the arrest of the parent who is leading the protests demanding government action.

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Africa
2:13 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

With Few Answers On Missing Teens, Frustration Simmers In Nigeria

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 6:32 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In Nigeria, a large number of schoolgirls, possibly a couple hundred, are still missing after they were abducted by suspected Islamist insurgents more than two weeks ago. It was thought that the teens had been trucked to a notorious militant hideout in northeastern Nigeria. Latest reports say they may have been spirited across Nigeria's borders to neighboring countries. The dearth of information from authorities is causing outrage and is putting pressure on the Nigerian government.

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Africa
3:21 pm
Sun April 27, 2014

'Have Mercy On Our Little Ones': Kidnapping Agonizes Nigerians

Families of kidnapped schoolgirls attend a meeting with the local government in the remote town of Chibok, Nigeria.
Afolabi Sotunde Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun April 27, 2014 4:23 pm

There is a grim mood of outrage in Nigeria. In the faraway, northeastern town of Chibok, more than 200 girls were kidnapped from their boarding school dorms in the dead of night nearly two weeks ago.

Chibok is a mixed Christian and Muslim community in predominately Muslim northern Nigeria. The attackers are suspected Islamist extremists. Under pressure, the Nigerian government is vowing to rescue the missing students, but the military is being blamed for failing to free the teens and crush an increasingly deadly insurgency.

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Africa
4:16 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Rescuers Deliver Most, But Not All, Nigerian Schoolgirls To Safety

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 6:20 pm

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

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Africa
7:56 am
Sat April 12, 2014

Guineans Scramble To Defend Themselves Against Deadly Virus

Originally published on Sat April 12, 2014 11:26 am

A recent outbreak of Ebola in Guinea has the country on edge. Guineans have never experienced the deadly virus, and are learning quickly how to protect themselves.

Shots - Health News
11:59 am
Fri April 11, 2014

How A Person Can Recover From Ebola

Testing for Ebola, a scientist in a mobile lab at Gueckedou, Guinea, separates blood cells from plasma cells to isolate the virus's genetic sequence.
Misha Hussain Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 1:38 pm

At least eight Ebola patients in Guinea have beaten the odds. They have recovered and been sent home. In past outbreaks, the death rate has been as high as 90 percent. In Guinea so far, about 60 percent of the 157 suspected cases have ended in death.

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Shots - Health News
1:51 am
Fri April 11, 2014

The Ebola Survivors: Reborn But Not Always Embraced

Rose Komano, 18 and the mother of three, was the first Ebola patient to overcome the virus in southeastern Guinea, the epicenter of the outbreak. On April 3, she posed at a health clinic in the Gueckedou region.
Misha Hussain Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 1:32 pm

They call them the "Lazarus" cases, after the Biblical character who died but was revived by Jesus. They are survivors of the latest outbreak of Ebola.

Ebola often grabs global headlines as the killer virus that can result in a death rate of up to 90 percent. But in Guinea, the death rate in the current outbreak has been about 60 percent. So there are survivors — to the delight of the overworked doctors, health workers and, of course, the patients who have recovered.

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Shots - Health News
3:25 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

The Ebola Outbreak 3 Weeks In: Dire But Not Hopeless

The new normal in Guinea is washing hands with a mixture of water and bleach--shown here at the border entrance of Buruntuma, in the Gabu area on Tuesday.
Tiago Petinga EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 8:15 pm

Guinea is on high alert. At the international airport, travelers' temperatures are monitored for signs of infection. In the capital city of Conakry, people rarely shake hands and are advised to regularly wash their hands with bleach-diluted water.

This is what life is like nearly three weeks after an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

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News
2:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Facing Ebola Outbreak, Officials Must Contain Both Virus And Panic

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 5:28 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Dozens of deaths are reported in Guinea in West Africa, the results of the Ebola virus. Health officials and aid agencies are working to contain both the disease and panic about the outbreak. We'll explore the origins of the deadly virus in a moment. First, NPR Africa correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton on the outbreak.

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Africa
2:23 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

On Streets In Senegal, Thousands Of Boys Are Forced To Beg

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:20 pm

Human Rights Watch is urging Senegal to implement a law criminalizing forced begging. Many families are misled into entrusting their children to people acting as Islamic teachers, who then exploit thousands of young boys.

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

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