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Health

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The development of antibiotics in the middle of the 20th century was one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine. Penicillin and its pharmaceutical cousins saved millions of lives. But like a magic potion given to the world by a stern fairy, antibiotics come with a catch — If you abuse them, you lose them.

For decades, scientists have been warning that antibiotic resistance is on the rise globally because of misuse of the drugs.

But a new report makes it clear that the world is not listening.

It's a blustery day in the border town of Mexicali in Baja California, Mexico, and five men are huddled inside a makeshift encampment covered with protest signs outside the city's government offices. The intense wind makes the tarps serving as walls flap loudly, like Batman's cape as he propels down a building. And just like Batman, they say they're there for justice.

When Phejin Konyak was a girl, she'd sit on her grandfather's lap in front of a roaring fireplace, with a pot of black tea simmering. He'd tell her folk tales. She was entranced by the stories — but even more by the jet black tattoos that curved over his eyes, nose, upper lip and chin. His neck, chest and body were filled with geometrical shapes and patterns.

When she went to boarding school at age 4, she began to realize that her grandfather's tattooed body – and indeed, the tattooed bodies of his fellow tribesmen – were quite extraordinary.

How Fast Can An Outbreak Be Detected?

Mar 23, 2018

How do you stop an outbreak from becoming an epidemic?

You catch it early, of course – a task that requires rapid response and coordination. That's a tough mission in any country, especially a nation lacking in resources.

Uganda is proving that it's absolutely doable, even in a low-income country.

Last week, we posed this question to our audience: When do charitable partnerships cross the line?

The question came in light of a recent alliance between the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Heineken. The beer giant is offering its communications and logistics expertise to help with the delivery of health-care supplies in markets where Heineken already has an extensive distribution system.

Forget all your preconceptions about how the world has changed over the past several decades. Here's all the data you need in a shiny new tool that tracks the planet's progress toward becoming a better place for everyone.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on November 26, 2017 and has been updated.

This week, an Instagram user who goes by the name of Jossa Johansson has come under fire for the caption of a post with a photo of herself embracing a little girl from Kibera, Kenya.

Scratch another Guinea worm hot spot off the list.

One of the countries hardest hit with the parasite — South Sudan — has finally stopped transmission, the Carter Center announced Wednesday.

The country reported zero cases in 2017 and hasn't had a case in 15 months. There are also no signs Guinea worm is circulating in dogs in South Sudan, as it is in Chad and Mali.

Standing in Times Square in front of street performers dressed up as the Statue of Liberty, the two teenage girls look like typical tourists. They're grinning and posing on their first visit to New York City.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on March 21, 2016 and has been updated.

March 21 is making headlines for its fierce spring snowstorm. But that's not the only distinction on this day. It's also the busiest spot on the United Nations' calendar of international observances, with five different U.N.-declared "Days." Here's a rundown:

This year's World Happiness Report doesn't have too many surprises — Scandinavian countries occupy many of the smiliest slots. But there's a West African country that's getting rave reviews for its happiness. Togo, which ranked at the very bottom of the 2015 World Happiness Report, comes in this year as the "biggest gainer," the report says. That means Togo is the country with the most-improved level of happiness in the world.

WATCH: How A Tick Digs Its Hooks Into You

Mar 20, 2018

Spring is here. Unfortunately for hikers and picnickers enjoying the warmer weather, the new season is prime time for ticks, which can transmit bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

How they latch on — and stay on — is a feat of engineering that scientists have been piecing together. Once you know how a tick's mouth works, you understand why it's impossible to simply flick a tick.

If you want to cut your risk of catching the flu on your next flight, pick a window seat and stay put.

That's a key take-home message of a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It's the worst Lassa fever outbreak ever recorded in Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization.

"In January alone there were more cases [203 suspected cases] than during the whole year 2017 combined," says Lorenzo Pomarico, emergency coordinator for the medical group ALIMA, the Alliance for International Medical Action. "This is an extraordinary and unprecedented outbreak in its sheer scale."

Maryangel Garcia Ramos wears silver glitter eye shadow. She once raised hell at a Killers concert because the venue wouldn't let her rock out with her wheelchair in front of the stage. And she wants you to know that yes, people with disabilities do have sex.

He was the computer teacher without a computer.

Then his story went viral — and his life (and classroom) changed.

On March 1, NPR published a story about Owura Kwadwo Hottish, 33, who painstakingly drew a computer screen on a chalkboard to teach his computerless middle school students in Kumasi, Ghana, about Microsoft Word and other computer software.

Welcome to Invisibilia Season 4! The NPR program and podcast explores the invisible forces that shape human behavior, and we here at Goats and Soda are joining in for the podcast's look at how a reality show in Somalia tried to do far more than crown a winning singer. The ultimate goal: to change human behavior.

The Oxfam sex scandal was not a one-time news story.

The report on sexual misconduct by Oxfam workers in Haiti in 2011 made headlines last month. Since then, a number of other aid groups have come clean about similar problems — and revealed cases that victimized staffers as well.

Our ancestors in Kenya's Southern Rift Valley made some pretty innovative tools. And they made them far earlier than previously thought.

The oldest innovations were axes designed to be held in the palm of the hand. They were shaped like a tear drop, with a rounded end and a pointed eye. The edges were wavy and sharp. And they look as if they were great at chopping down branches — or chopping up the carcass of a large animal.

Peter Sands took over this month as the new head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. But before he'd even officially taken his seat at the Fund's offices in Geneva, he was under attack for a new partnership with Heineken.

We were hundreds of women, marching on the streets of Karachi, Pakistan.

We shouted slogans. '"Aurat aiee, aurat aiee, tharki teri shaamath aiee!" (Women are here, harassers must fear!)

We raised our fists in the air, smiling, laughing.

We wore what we wanted to wear: burqas, jeans and designer shades, brightly embroidered skirts, the traditional tunic and baggy trousers called shalwar kameez.

Men gaped, shook their heads, filmed us from passing cars as we walked by, disrupting traffic.

We did not care what the men thought of us.

A report released this month by UNICEF has been cause for celebration in India, the country with the highest number of child marriages in South Asia each year. According to the newly released data, the annual number of child marriages in the country has dropped by nearly half in the last decade.

In the front yard of a modest house in Cape Town's Khayelitsha township in South Africa, Samantha Tibisono washes her clothes with water from a communal tap.

She lives in Site C, a neighborhood where nearly two-thirds of residents live in shacks with no running water. The city provides communal taps and toilets for sanitation, but lately the taps have run dry.

Inside their home, Tibisono's daughter Asavela, 17, points to buckets of water on shelves and under a table.

"Sometimes [we go] two days without water," she says.

The Tsimane people are among the most isolated people in Bolivia. They number about 16,000 and live in 80 mostly riverbank villages of 50 to several hundred people scattered across about 3,000 square miles of Amazon jungle. They are forager-farmers who fish, hunt, cut down jungle trees with machetes and produce an average of nine children per family, says Michael Gurven, chair of the Integrated Anthropological Sciences Unit at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

When photographer Lorenzo Vitturi first visited Lagos, in 2014, he expected to find the same sort of gentrification he'd seen happening around him in London, where he's based. He imagined he'd find colorful neighborhoods being dismantled, razed and replaced with sterile skyscrapers. He anticipated chain stores and shopping malls where there were once mom-and-pop shops.

"India is the diabetes capital of the world!"

That was a headline two years ago in the Times of India. And that's not a case of media hype. India has a huge diabetes problem: nearly 70 million people are grappling with the disease.

March 8 is Agnes Igoye's birthday, and she spent it mentoring high schools girls in Kampala, Uganda, in honor of International Women's Day. Igoye serves as Uganda's deputy National Coordinator for Prevention of Trafficking in Persons and heads its Immigration Training Academy. She spoke to me about how she overcame the prejudice she faced from the day she was born — the family really wanted a son, not another daughter — and the signs of progress she sees.

We just marked International Women's Day. How is it celebrated in Uganda?

It's A Rocky Road To Power For Rural Women

Mar 8, 2018

From Hollywood and Bollywood to the media, NGO and corporate worlds, stories about harassment and discrimination against women in the workplace have captured global attention for months. And rightly so.

But what about the millions of rural women facing these injustices, who almost never make the headlines?

Development agencies have struggled to find ways to help rural women overcome obstacles in male-dominated societies and to gain an education, to own land, to take out loans, to earn a living and to gain equal rights in all arenas.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in December and has been updated on March 8.

March 8 is International Women's Day — dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women in all arenas: social, economic, cultural, political and personal as well.

To mark the day, we've compiled some of the profiles we've done of truly remarkable women, from a 101-year-old runner from India to a Yemeni refugee who didn't let war stop her from being a scientist.

Today is International Women's Day, a day that aims to celebrate the achievements of women in all arenas: social, economic, cultural, political and personal, as well.

Over the past year, NPR has profiled some remarkable women, from a 101-year-old runner from India to a Yemeni refugee who didn't let war stop her from being a scientist.

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