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Behind pea-green curtains in a steamy office in the Central African Republic's capital of Bangui, comic book artist Didier Kassai carefully dips his paintbrush into a nut brown pigment on his palette, wipes it on a scratch sheet then slowly puts it to paper. His brush strokes bring a watercolor to life – itself a scene of death. The brown is used to color the butt of a rebel's gun in a strip chronicling his country's spiraling conflict.

It's a problem that has come seemingly out of nowhere. Over the last five years a worrisome number of low-income countries have racked up so much debt they are now at high risk of being unable to pay it back — with potentially devastating consequences not just for their economies but for their citizens, many of whom are already living in extreme poverty.

Lower-income countries get a lot of old stuff from the U.S. and Europe. Used cars and buses and trucks, for instance, roll onto ships to be resold at their destination.

But you'd be surprised at what might be inside these vehicles. Two photocopiers plus two TVs can typically fit in a car. A bus might carry six to nine refrigerators, two to four washing machines, 20 TVs and maybe a few DVD players. A truck might hold up to 50 refrigerators and 50 TVs.

If someone were to tell you their job was a burden, you might feel sorry for that person.

So when Consolata Agunga told me, "I feel good because I have the burden of serving my people," I was puzzled.

How can a burden make you feel good?

After decades of intense effort, an effective vaccine against HIV is not on the horizon — and, some say, may never be possible. So some AIDS researchers are going passive.

As in passive immunization.

Active immunization is what an effective vaccine does. It stimulates the recipient to make antibodies that protect against a disease. Passive immunization involves the direct injection of antibodies extracted from survivors of a particular infection.

They made children wear socks until they got good and smelly.

Later on, they decapitated mosquitoes.

Those were two steps in an ... unusual ... study to learn why female mosquitoes (males don't bite) are more likely to feed on people with malaria than non-infected people.

But scientists haven't known exactly how the parasite that causes malaria, called Plasmodium, pulls off this manipulation

Trevor Noah isn't the only South African comic on The Daily Show roster.

This year, Comedy Central named some foreign correspondents to contribute to overseas versions of the show. And one of them is Loyiso Madinga, a 31-year-old stand-up comedian.

She was 8 years old and wearing a purple salwar kameez when she disappeared on Jan. 10.

A week later, on Jan. 17, her mutilated and lifeless body was found in a forest near Kathua in the Indian-controlled region of Kashmir. It was a mile away from Rasana, the village where her family was currently living.

Amid suspected chemical attacks and shelling, medics treating nearly any injury in a conflict zone in Syria need supplies like anesthetics, IV catheters, syringes and sterile surgical gloves.

These items are routinely included in humanitarian aid shipments. But in February, they were among the 3,810 medical treatments that Syrian authorities removed from aid convoys headed to Nashabiyah, a city in Ghouta, according to the U.N. Security Council.

You can't help but note that of the six winners of the 2018 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, five are women.

"I'm the odd man out," jokes Harish Hande, an awardee for his SELCO Foundation, which works to provide solar power systems at low cost to the poor in India.

For the first time ever, Brazil is attempting a nationwide immunization campaign against yellow fever.

An ongoing outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease has killed hundreds of people in parts of Brazil where yellow fever traditionally wasn't considered a threat and most residents aren't vaccinated against it.

"We can call this the biggest outbreak in modern times," says Dr. Mauricio Lacerda Nogueira, the president of the Brazil Society for Virology. "Since the middle of the 20th century we never had an outbreak of this size."

When Josephine Majani came to, she was on a hard hallway floor in the Bungoma District Hospital in Bungoma, Kenya.

Majani heard nurses yelling: "I saw them carry the baby away. They screamed at me, 'Why have you delivered on the floor? Who is going to clean up all this blood? Get up. Get your things and go back to the delivery room.' I was helpless."

Majani has no memory of being slapped, she says, but when she regained consciousness her cheeks stung. She did as she was told. She struggled to her feet and followed nurses back to the room to deliver the placenta.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on April 5, 2017 and has been updated.

In a suspected chemical weapon attack, like the one in Syria over the weekend, children are the most vulnerable targets. They are more likely than adults to die from chemical agents and to suffer injuries. If they survive, they also suffer from the physical and mental trauma of the attack for far more years than adults simply because they have more years left to live.

In the early hours of Monday, August 14 last year, Samuel Senessie woke up to one of the most powerful rainstorms he had ever seen. Water cascaded down the steep slope of Sugarloaf mountain, a precipitous peak on the edge of Sierra Leone's tropical seaside capital, Freetown, where Senessie lived in a small concrete home with his family.

Our tummies are teeming with trillions of bacteria — tiny microbes that help with little things, like digesting food, and big things, like warding off disease.

Those same microbes may have another purpose: waging war against worms.

From time to time, readers ask us, "How did your blog get its name?"

It's a longish story (here is the full explanation). In a nutshell, goats are a useful animal in the lower-income countries we cover. They can contribute to the income and the nutrition of a family.

We've also learned from talking to goat specialists that goats are curious and independent animals — true to the spirit of our blog, if we might humblebrag.

Chances are, you — or someone you know — has suffered from lower back pain.

It can be debilitating. It's a leading cause of disability globally.

And the number of people with the often-chronic condition is likely to increase.

The U.N. has received one of the biggest donations for relief in aid history: $930 million to its Yemen Humanitarian Fund, which provides food, health care and other vital services for the conflict-ridden nation.

But there's an ethical concern. It's coming from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two countries that have helped fuel Yemen's conflict.

When the newborn piglets first started getting sick in October 2016, farmers in China's Guangdong province suspected porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) — a disease they'd seen in the pigs before. And, at first, the tests did come back positive for PEDV. But then something strange happened. By January 2017, the pigs stopped testing positive for that virus — but kept getting sick.

Don't mess with other civilizations.

That's the "prime directive" in Star Trek and countless other sci-fi works. Of course, visitors to other planets get it wrong — a lot. Sometimes, they meddle in inappropriate ways and disaster ensues.

So what does this have to do with global health?

Well, here on Earth, doctors and medical students are flocking to programs where they spend a couple of weeks to months volunteering in what's called a "low-resource" country. In these places, medical expertise and technology may lag behind richer nations.

There is a paradox with living as a human nowadays.

A 2014 article from the United Nations states that about 54 percent of the human population lives in urban areas (more by now), a proportion that is projected to increase to 66 percent by 2050. By 2045, the report says, more than six billion people will crowd cities.

Editor's Note: The video of leeches used in surgery is a bit bloody — especially after the 2-minute mark.

Leeches get a bad rap — but they might not deserve it.

More than two decades after South Africa ousted a racist apartheid system that trapped the vast majority of South Africans in poverty, more than half the country still lives below the national poverty line and most of the nation's wealth remains in the hands of a small elite.

It was mid-morning and many chairs beside the outpatient clinic were uncharacteristically vacant.

"I think people waited because of the rain," Dr. Jacklyn Adella says. It was late January, the height of the Indonesian monsoons, and even the relatively arid island of Sumba faced daily downpours.

Adella settled into a small, air-conditioned room at Waitabula's Karitas Hospital as her first patient entered: a 17-year-old, his foot, stitched from a recent motorbike injury, had become infected.

The column was supposed to draw attention to a crisis in a country that Americans don't often hear about in the media: the Central African Republic.

Instead, it drew fury on social media this week for its portrayal of CAR and the sources interviewed. Sarah Knuckey, a professor at Columbia University's law school and the co-director of the university's Human Rights Institute, called it "shallow" and "reckless" in its reporting.

The Global Fund is pulling out of a controversial partnership with Heineken but not for the reason most cited by critics.

Public health advocates had been blasting Peter Sands, the new executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, for backing a partnership with Heineken to "fight infectious diseases in Africa." Some activists said it was inappropriate for a health agency to align with a product that can be detrimental to people's health.

Imagine this: A pesky mosquito sips some of your blood. Hours later, the blood-sucker drops dead, poisoned by the very blood it just slurped down.

A man in the U.K. has contracted a strain of gonorrhea that is resistant to the two main drugs used to treat it, according to British health officials.

This is the latest in a long history of gonorrhea developing resistance to antibiotics – in fact, the World Health Organization has warned that doctors are running out of ways to treat it.

Last weekend The Vagina Monologues was performed for the first time in Myanmar. Audiences loved it. Each performance was filled to capacity.

But right up to the opening curtain of the free event, organizers worried that the country might not be ready for a politicized play about female genitalia and empowerment. After all, when they called a sweet shop in Yangon, the country's largest city, and asked for a culinary tie-in — vagina-shaped lollipops — the proprietor hung up.

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