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.

A photo of a woman who appears to be breastfeeding created a stir in India when it ran on the cover of the magazine Grihalakshmi. Released on March 1, the cover polarized Indians, evoking applause and outrage on social media and dominating prime-time TV news.

The controversial photo features 27-year-old model Gilu Joseph dressed in a gray blouse, cradling a baby at her breast while she stares squarely at the camera.

When Erich McElroy takes the stage at comedy clubs in London, his routine includes a joke about the first time he went to see a doctor in Britain.

Originally from Seattle, McElroy, 45, has lived in London for almost 20 years. A stand-up comedian, he's made a career out of poking fun at the differences in the ways Americans versus Britons see the world — and one of the biggest differences is their outlook on health care.

OK, so maybe you're one of those people who don't wash their hands even after going to the bathroom because your dad never did and he never got sick.

Or you think a three-second hand scrub is more than enough.

Or you squirt on some hand-sanitizer and figure you've done your duty.

I have some news for you.

There's a new study out on norovirus and the role hand-washing can play in stopping an outbreak.

To sum it up: Wash up!

On a rare rainy night in Albuquerque, two dozen students are learning the proper way to care for older people. Teacher Liliana Reyes is reviewing the systems of the body — circulatory, respiratory and so on — to prepare them for an upcoming exam.

These students are seeking to join a workforce of about 3 million people who help older adults remain in their homes. They assist these clients with things like bathing, dressing, and taking medication on time.

It takes the taxi driver three tries to find the neighborhood and at least another three wrong turns on narrow unpaved roads before he locates the company's front gate. Each time he gets turned around the driver reaches for a cell phone. On the other end of the line Odgerel Gamsukh directs the driver to Gamsukh's garage door business. Neither man seems bothered by the multiple interruptions and resulting delay. Mongolians are used to it taking a little extra time to get around, especially in the ger areas of Ulaanbaatar.

The hamlet of Bawa was in uproar. A pretty, 20-year-old villager named Amelia had vanished shortly after heading to wash her dishes in the shallow river that runs through this remote western corner of Mozambique. Crocodiles often lurk just below the surface, and over the last decade this community of about a thousand people had lost almost 50 of their number to attacks. So it seemed clear that Amelia was the latest victim.

Sunday night, the Oscars will pick the best animated feature. Pixar's Coco is the favorite. But if the choice were up to Afghans, they'd go for The Breadwinner.

Academics can't stop talking about Black Panther.

Sure, it's just a movie. A superhero action movie.

But it's also a movie about an (admittedly fictional) African nation that, in the absence of colonialists, shaped itself through careful governance into a thriving society. And so on Twitter, in newspapers and just about anywhere you look, researchers, professors and African leading lights are talking about Wakanda.

For more than 60 years, it has been the standard of care to try to speed up childbirth with drugs, or to perform a cesarean section if labor was seen as progressing too slowly.

Now a new set of recommendations is changing the game.

Could you teach computer class without a computer?

For Owura Kwadwo Hottish, 33, an information and communications technology teacher in Ghana, it's his only option. At the middle school where he works, there are no computers. So using colored chalk, he painstakingly draws a version of the computer screen onto the blackboard.

Editor's note: Given the subject this story explores, the discussion includes some explicit language.

For generations, women of a secretive Muslim sect have removed what they call "forbidden flesh" from their girls. They were told they had an infection, or an insect, that needed to be cut out. The girls were ordered to never speak of it again. Others knew to stay quiet, understanding that anything involving their genitals should stay secret.

But now the community is talking.

How did a tick that's native to East Asia make it to rural New Jersey?

That's the question puzzling researchers. The backstory involves a panicky sheep owner, tick-covered humans and a pair of pants stuck in the freezer.

The tick in question is Haemaphysalis longicornis — also known as the longhorned tick or bush tick.

Dressed in a hijab and covered from head to toe, she felt something. Someone — a man — had grabbed onto her butt and would not let go.

The Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, called hajj, was supposed to be the holiest moment of Mona Eltahawy's life. When she was 15, she journeyed there with her family. The magnificence of the Great Mosque had taken her breath away. But that man turned the trip into a nightmare.

Instead of telling the authorities, the young Eltahawy simply burst into tears.

A good photo can let you see the world in ways you never dreamed of.

That's what struck us about the nominees for the 2018 World Press Photo contest, an annual competition that highlights the best photojournalism of the year. The finalists were just announced.

There were some glimmers of good news in an otherwise grim report released by UNICEF this week documenting the alarmingly high death rate of newborns worldwide: Bangladesh has managed to cut its newborn mortality rate from 64.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 20.1 per 1,000 today. That's 1 in every 50 births. By comparison, in neighboring Pakistan (which has the worst odds of any country) 1 in every 22 newborns doesn't survive.

Nigeria is tough on diseases.

With help from a few partners, it stopped Ebola's spread. It wrestled guinea-worm disease into a headlock, with no new cases since 2013. And it's nearly eradicated the transmission of polio.

But now a disease that usually just lurks in the background has roared into headlines. Since the beginning of the year, there's been a particularly large outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria's southern provinces.

The blind have descended in droves on the Bisidimo Hospital in Eastern Ethiopia.

The Himalayan Cataract Project is hosting a mass cataract surgery campaign at the medical compound that used to be a leper colony. For one week a team from the nonprofit has set up seven operating tables in four operating rooms and they're offering free cataract surgery to anyone who needs it.

On the first day of the campaign it's clear that the need is great.

Donald Trump Jr. says he was impressed by the poor people of India.

During a visit to promote his family's luxury apartments, Trump Jr. had this to say in a television interview with the Indian channel CNBC-TV 18.

Measles is highly contagious, but easily preventable with a vaccine.

However, the numbers of measles cases jumped sharply in Europe in 2017, according to new data released by the World Health Organization.

In 2017, the disease affected 21,315 people, compared with 5,273 in 2016. Last year, 35 people died in Europe because of measles.

The number of new HIV cases reported in the Philippines has surged over the last few years, according the country's health agency. In 2007, fewer than 400 new cases were reported; in 2017, more than 11,000 new cases were identified.

There was no red carpet, but there were drums, dancing, and general mayhem.

In late January, NPR global health correspondent Jason Beaubien went to the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh for a series of radio and web reports. It was the week that a plan to send the refugees back to Myanmar was supposed to start. But that program was put on hold because of logistics.

We interviewed Beaubien about his trip.

In the brave new world of synthetic biology, scientists can now brew up viruses from scratch using the tools of DNA technology.

The latest such feat, published last month, involves horsepox, a cousin of the feared virus that causes smallpox in people. Critics charge that making horsepox in the lab has endangered the public by basically revealing the recipe for how any lab could manufacture smallpox to use as a bioweapon.

Earlier this week, we shared the remarkable story of Abby Beckley — and her run-in with eye worms.

When this young woman felt something crawling around in her eyes, she had the presence to remove said worm and then, over the course of a few weeks, not one, not two nor three ... but 14 nematodes came out from her eye.

At first doctors didn't believe her. Then they saw one squiggle across her eyeball.

Under the Geneva Conventions, warring parties are responsible for providing medical care to civilians in the territory they control.

But what happens if the warring parties don't have the will or the capacity to treat the civilian casualties? Or if they could not care less about the civilians?

That's a question that erupted in Iraq late in 2016, when the Iraqi military launched a massive military offensive to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS — the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. ISIS had seized control of Mosul two years earlier.

It's a story that has stunned the public.

Last week, a report by The Times of London found that in 2011, the national director for Oxfam in Haiti and senior aid workers hired local sex workers while working in the country. After an internal investigation, the Times reported, Oxfam accepted the resignations of three men and fired four for gross misconduct.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in October and has been republished with updates following the shooting Wednesday in Florida.

It was the deadliest school shooting since a gunman took 26 lives at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Conn. On Wednesday, a shooter killed at least 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

There's no Xbox or PlayStation for most of the kids in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. But there are kites.

In the late afternoon, a steady wind blows over the hills of the Hakimpara refugee camp. Young boys race to a ridge at the top of the settlement to fly homemade kites. Some of the "kites" are little more than a plastic bag flapping on a string. But some are more sophisticated with long tails and frilly tassels. "This is a new kite and I'm very happy with it," says 7-year-old Mohammed Arfat as he reels out string to a silvery kite 30 or 40 feet above him.

This year, Bill and Melinda Gates are doing something a little different with their annual letter. They are answering what they call some of the "toughest questions" from their foundation's critics.

On the list: Is it fair that you have the influence you do? Why don't you give more to the United States? Why do you give your money away?

Since its inception, the Gates Foundation has given $41.3 billion in grants, including a grant to NPR.

Oh my lordy! This story gets creepier and crazier the more you learn about it.

Back in the summer of 2016, Abby Beckley had been living on an inactive cattle ranch in southern Oregon. "There was just one cow," says the 28-year-old college student.

A few weeks later, she started to have the sensation that something was in her eye. "You know how it feels when you have an eyelash in your eye?" Beckley says. "That's exactly how it felt, but when I looked in the mirror, I couldn't see anything."

Pages