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One of China's most controversial celebrations, the annual dog meat festival in southwest China's Yulin City, is underway.

The event inflames passions among the celebrants and their critics to such a degree that the local government seems to be in a bind, unable to placate either side. Activists say that this year, the government issued a ban on the sale of dog meat, only to reverse following an outcry from locals.

"It's really confusing," says Zhang Xiaohai, secretary general of the AITA Foundation for Animal Protection in Beijing.

The humanitarian aid system is broken.

That's the message of a new paper by Paul Spiegel, a former senior official at the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The piece was part of a special series on health and humanitarian crises published by the British medical journal The Lancet in early June.

Eye-popping. That's the word that comes to mind when you hear how many viruses are likely hiding out around the world in animals.

"We expect there are hundreds of thousands of mammalian viruses out there," says Kevin Olival, a disease ecologist at EcoHealth Alliance, who led the study.

Really? Hundreds of thousands?

"Yes, it's likely," Olival says. "Any given mammal species is likely to have 20, 30 or even 100 viruses. When you add that up around the planet, you get a big number."

Two years ago, Eqbal Dauqan was going to work in the morning as usual. She's a biochemistry professor. And was driving on the freeway, when suddenly: "I felt something hit my car, but I didn't know what it was because I was driving very fast," she says.

Dauqan reached the parking lot. Got out of the car and looked at the door. What she saw left her speechless.

"A bullet hit the car, just on the door," she says.

The door had stopped the bullet. And Dauqan was OK. She has no idea where the bullet came from. But it turned out to be an ominous sign of what was to come.

The number of people forcibly displaced from their homes is the highest since World War II.

According to a new report from the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, 65.6 million people are currently living as refugees or as displaced persons inside their own countries. This includes 10.3 million people who were uprooted from their homes in 2016.

Diarrhea is not only a topic that makes people a bit squeamish, it turns out to be a difficult disease to put into numbers.

But two trends are clear, says an author of a new report: The number of deaths from diarrheal diseases is dropping dramatically in low-income countries – and ticking upward in wealthy nations.

Would you rather raise your kids in Europe or Africa?

That's the question that Carl Manlan faced. Carl, who's from the Ivory Coast, and his wife, Lelani, who's from South Africa, started their family in Geneva, Switzerland, where they were working at the time. They have two children, a daughter named Claire, born in May 2012, and a son named Liam, born in September 2014.

Geneva is a great place to raise kids, Carl says. "Lots of opportunities to stimulate kids outside of the home, playgrounds for kids. You don't really find that in most cities in Africa."

Over the last 2 years photographer Nichole Sobecki and journalist Laura Heaton have documented the devastating impact of climate change on one of the most unstable places in the world, Somalia.

Their reporting appears in Foreign Policy magazine in an article titled "Somalia's Land is Dying. The People Will Be Next."

War-torn Yemen is now being convulsed by cholera.

Over the past six weeks, more than 124,000 suspected cholera cases have been reported. To put this in perspective, there were only 172,000 cases reported globally to the World Health Organization for all of 2015. To be fair, many cholera cases go unreported each year, but by any standard the current outbreak in Yemen is huge.

It is hard to imagine Africans would record and release an album of music with the name White African Power.

Esraa Yousria Saleh was walking down El Hussein, a busy street in downtown Cairo famous for its souvenirs and tchotchkes, when a man in his early 20s made eye contact with her. He followed her, circled her, then suddenly — she felt a hot breath in her ear:

"I would like to put it all inside."

Saleh, 28, a feminist and activist based in Egypt, was furious. Why did that man feel like he could look at her? Follow her? Say those lewd words to her?

A study published Thursday shows how a bird flu virus that's sickening and killing people in China could mutate to potentially become more contagious.

Just three changes could be enough to do the trick, scientists report in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

And the news comes just as federal officials are getting ready to lift a moratorium on controversial lab experiments that would deliberately create flu viruses with mutations like these.

Goats and Soda is NPR's global health and development blog. We tell stories of life in our changing world, focusing on low- and middle-income countries. And we keep in mind that we're all neighbors in this global village.

Can eating insects help people survive a famine?

Are there new ways to help farmers water their crops when drought strikes?

Isn't the basic hunger problem that there's just not enough food to go around?

Those are some of the tough questions that you submitted in April for our monthly #CuriousGoat series.

Zika may have fallen from headlines, especially with everything going on in politics these days, but the threat remains.

And recommendations for pregnant women haven't changed: Pregnant women — and those trying to get pregnant — should not travel to places where the Zika virus is circulating.

It's just too risky because Zika can cause birth defects.

But what about babies? Or kids? Is it safe to travel with them?

Note: Given the subject this story explores, the discussion includes some explicit language.

A recent report from Save the Children documents what many people have known for a long time — a baby is far better off being born in Europe than in sub-Saharan Africa.

Authorities in Mozambique say bald men are being killed, allegedly because of the belief that their heads contain gold.

So far five bald men have been killed, all in central Mozambique: two in May in Milange district close to the border with Malawi and three this month in the district of Morrumbala.

Bald men across the country are afraid of exposing their scalps. Some stay indoors. Others hide their baldness with caps.

The Green Climate Fund has been thrust into the spotlight of late.

President Trump singled it out for scorn in his Rose Garden remarks last week announcing his decision to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. Along with that move, Trump noted, he is ending further U.S. contributions to the "so-called Green Climate Fund — nice name."

Zika is a scary virus because of the terrible birth defects it can cause. Now scientists have a clearer sense of the size of that risk.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified 2,549 pregnant women with the Zika virus in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories between Jan. 1, 2016 and April 25, 2017. The CDC found that 122 of these women — about 5 percent — gave birth to babies with birth defects such as small heads (known as microcephaly).

Water stagnating at a construction site. A dwindling number of mangroves along the shore. Lakes choked with algae and hyacinth. Sewage pipes leaking into the sea.

These are common sights in India.

Until recently, the best people could do to try to draw attention to such problems was to tweet pictures to the government or write letters to the newspaper — hoping someone with the power to make changes would take note.

Ten years ago, my husband and I were traveling around South Africa for a few weeks and fell in love with the baboons.

They were everywhere. Eating fruit in the middle of the road. Having sex on the side of a hiking trail. Even just hanging out in a gas station parking lot.

They're magnificent creatures. Weighing up to 100 pounds, they have this alluring attitude — kind of like Sam Elliot in The Big Lebowski, sipping a beer at a bar, ready to offer sage advice.

He was a world leader who was not a household name. But he definitely made an impact as an advocate for the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls.

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund, died on Sunday night at his home.

If you've ever bought coffee labeled "Uganda" and wondered what life is like in that faraway place where the beans were grown, now's your chance to see how climate change has affected the lives of Ugandan coffee farmers — through their own eyes.

The overwhelming majority of bats are friends of humanity. They gobble up the insects that bite us and ruin our crops. They pollinate flowers and they replant forests by spreading seeds around. But as agriculture overtakes rain forests and jungles, humans have come into conflict with one bat species: the common vampire bat.

It's a public health problem that spans the globe.

It kills close to 6 million people a year.

Teenagers are at risk.

It's not the latest epidemic or chronic disease.

It's the cigarette.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control looks at rates of smoking among 13- to 15-year-olds (most smokers start in adolescence) and how they feel about it, with a nod to the kinds of measures that work to cut rates of teen smoking.

Here's a classic scene from a telenovela.

It's the funeral of a very rich man whose heirs are battling over his fortune. An indignant woman says to a female guest: "You are disrupting the service. Who else would you be saving this seat for other than Richard Juma's second wife?"

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Each morning at 8, 24-year-old Mariatu Kamara puts on her jeans, jacket and bright yellow helmet. She climbs onto her motorbike and rides up the mud path beside her house in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

As she passes, children nudge one another and whisper, "That's a woman."

She parks on the edge of the main road, next to four men on bikes. This is where the motorbike taxis (locally known as "okadas") wait for their customers.

When I was about 5 years old, my father passed away and life took a dramatic turn. My uncles from my father's side took all his properties, per the custom in my village in Ghana, so each of my father's seven wives had to find ways to provide and take care of their children. My mother struggled to get enough food — mainly beans and vegetables — to make even one daily meal for myself and my six siblings. She would make our food as spicy as possible so that we would have to drink a lot and fill our stomachs with water.

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