KRWG

Health

Please note:  Sometimes, NPR publishes headlines before the story and/or audio is ready; check back for content later if this occurs.  We also publish national/world news on our home page from AP, BBC, and others.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST:

On Wednesday morning, a Red Cross staffer in Afghanistan pushed his vehicle's panic button.

Three Red Cross vehicles were heading to meet up with a convoy of trucks carrying "winter feed" — food for livestock — in the remote northern province of Jowzjan in Afghanistan. The plan was for the Red Cross staff to help distribute the 1,000 tons of feed, which is critical for farmers. In the winter, there's nowhere for their animals to graze.

Getting people to change what they eat is tough. Changing a whole farming system is even tougher. The southern Indian state of Karnataka is quietly trying to do both, with a group of cereals that was once a staple in the state: millet.

Until about 40 years ago, like most of India, the people of Karnataka regularly ate a variety of millets, from finger millet (or ragi) to foxtail millet. They made rotis with it, ate it with rice, and slurped it up at breakfast as porridge.

Early last October, a new pastel-hued ice cream shop opened its doors to the Liberian public in Monrovia, the nation's capital.

Nice Cream's modern decor and impressive variety of 30 creative flavors made it an instant hit.

But the new shop hasn't put smiles on everyone's faces. Instead, it has provoked a debate in Liberia over who controls the local economy. It's also exposing the frosty relationship between some local entrepreneurs and foreign investors who run lucrative businesses in the tiny country.

Ten thousand years ago, at the dawn of the agricultural revolution, many of our worst infectious diseases didn't exist.

Here's what changed.

If you're a germaphobe, make sure you're sitting down.

Back in 1999, a woman in California cleaned up rodent droppings in her home. Two weeks later, her liver started failing. Then she started to bleed internally — a hemorrhagic fever that would kill her. Eventually doctors found a new virus in her body, which very likely came from a rat.

Why does female genital mutilation (FGM) — a practice that the U.N. has classified as violence against women — remain so entrenched in parts of the globe?

On display at the "Photography and Discovery" exhibit at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., is a photo of two men dressed in traditional Arab garb in a carpeted room (above). They're smoking a pipe. It's a beautiful photo, but it's not from the Middle East. It was shot in a studio in London by photographer Roger Fenton. The men in the photo are white Europeans, dressed up and posing as Arabs.

Downtown Nairobi is a bustling scene of people darting across the road and a long line of matatus — little- and medium-sized buses — waiting for passengers.

John Macharia owns two of those buses and he loves the work. Matatus, he says, are essential to Nairobi.

But, Macharia says, they're often targeted by police for the smallest infractions.

In 2000 Andrew Harding became sub-Saharan Africa correspondent for the BBC, based in Nairobi. Soon he was making regular trips to one of the most perilous corners of the continent: Somalia. Wracked by war, famine and clan-based strife since the early 1990s, the country would soon be assailed by a new menace: Al Shabab, a radical Islamist terrorist group.

Maybe Money Does Grow On Trees After All

Feb 3, 2017

African farmers have a secret economic weapon: trees.

Households in several African countries grow more trees than scientists previously realized. And those trees may account for an average 17 percent of a farm's income, according to a study funded by the World Bank's Program on Forests and published online in January in Forest Policy and Economics.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Federal health officials may be about to get greatly enhanced powers to quarantine people, as part of an ongoing effort to stop outbreaks of dangerous contagious diseases.

The new powers are outlined in a set of regulations the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published late last month to update the agency's quarantine authority for the first time since the 1940s.

Humans get along pretty well with most microbes. Which is lucky, because there are a lot more of them in the world than there are of us. We couldn't even live without many of them. But a few hundred have evolved, and are still evolving, to exploit our bodies in ways that can make us really sick. These are the microbes we call germs. Think plague, flu, HIV, SARS, Ebola, Zika, measles.

This is a series is about where germs come from. In this first of three episodes, we see what our early encounters with germs may have been like — and how germs first got the upper hand.

Business students are used to thinking about how to sell a new shampoo or a new app for a phone.

Last week they were asked to put their strategic brains to another use: Figuring out the best way to convince health workers and new parents in Nigeria to apply a potentially life-saving antiseptic to the baby's umbilical cord stump.

That was the challenge at a competition at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management that drew MBA students from 11 business schools around the country.

International humanitarian aid organizations say the travel restrictions issued by President Donald Trump on Saturday could have a dramatic impact on how they operate.

The Trump executive order temporarily bars all refugees and suspends — for the next 90 days — entry to the U.S. by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The White House says the order was intended to protect the nation from "foreign terrorist entry."

It's an Indian dish you're unlikely to find in India.

Bunny chow is essentially a kind of bread bowl. You take a loaf of white bread, hollow out the middle and fill it with a curry, either vegetarian beans or some type of meat.

But not rabbit. The name "bunny" comes from the corruption of an Indian term referring to merchants. The dish has its origins in Durban, South Africa's third-largest city.

If you get malaria somewhere in the tropics and end up in a British hospital, the treatment is pretty simple.

Or at least it used to be.

At the northern border of Somalia and Ethiopia, a group of teenage boys forced two girls — aged 14 and 16 — into a car, drove them to another location, stripped them and raped them.

The incident occurred on December 6. This weekend, a community court charged the perpetrators with thousands of dollars in fines, as well as up to 200 lashes and 10 years in jail. That's an unexpected outcome in a country where the perpetrators of rape often pay a small fine and walk free.

When MoniCa Singh, then 19, went to visit her parents in Lucknow, India, in 2005, she had just finished her first year at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi. She hoped to complete her degree and pursue a career in fashion design.

Then her life changed in a flash.

As she was driving down the street, a long-time acquaintance waved and motioned her to roll down her car window. Over the years, she had refused his persistent marriage proposals but his sociable gesture seemed to signal that was in the past. So why not?

While the world becomes more wired through laptops, tablets and mobile phones, a mountain of electronic waste — or e-waste — is also growing. The greatest contributor to that stock of e-waste is Asia, according to a report published last week from United Nations University.

The World Health Organization's next director-general will inherit an ailing institution with funding problems — and a bad reputation for how it's handled global health emergencies.

It's a shocking statistic that caught the world's attention last week: Just eight men own the same wealth as 3.6 billion people living in poverty — that's half the population of the planet.

"I never thought I can make a film for Oscar!" says Khaleed Khateeb.

Khateeb is a volunteer for the Syria Civil Defense forces, rescuing those caught in the crossfire of the civil war. He began filming scenes of the rescue missions and posting them on YouTube.

When filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel decided to make a documentary about the group, he got in touch with Khateeb, gave him training and better camera equipment and told him to keep on filming.

You've probably heard of antibiotic resistance — germs that can resist the drugs designed to wipe them out.

Now there's a new kind of resistance to worry about — fungal infections that are resistant to treatment.

It's President Donald Trump's first official act on the abortion issue. On Monday, the new president signed a presidential memorandum reinstating the "Mexico City" policy — barring U.S. aid from any group that provides or "promotes" abortion overseas. The policy dates to 1984, when Ronald Reagan unveiled it at a United Nations Conference in Mexico City. The Trump version is even broader than the incarnations that previous Republican presidents have adopted.

What does this mean in practice? To help make sense of it we've put together an FAQ.

It is a very attractive truffle.

It's made of the usual ingredients — cocoa butter, sugar, chocolate — with a not-so-typical addition. Thirty grams of dried tomatoes from Nigeria.

And it was served at the World Economic Forum last week in Davos, Switzerland, with a very specific goal in mind: "to raise awareness on food waste and hunger," as stated in a press release.

That's a big job for a bonbon — and it's the reason for the tomatoes.

Right up until he absolutely had to leave, 24-year-old nurse Abu Hussam was determined to stay in Aleppo. Months of airstrikes and assaults couldn't dissuade him — his community needed him.

When forces supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad moved in to take control of the city last month, Abu Hussam was among the last of the civilians evacuated from the city. He couldn't stay, because the Syrian government has persecuted medical staff and their families for treating rebels.

This post has been updated to include more information about the evaluation work done by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.

Pages