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.

Saturday is World Toilet Day. Its mission is to call attention to the fact that 2.4 billion people do not have access to a clean, safe toilet.

An international consciousness-raising event will take place in Mumbai: a Global Citizen concert headlined by Coldplay and with Jay Z and Demi Lovato among the performers.

And what better place to hold this concert, because Mumbai runs the gamut of toilet options, from the most luxurious to non-existent.

The World Health Organization announced Friday that it no longer considers the Zika epidemic a public health emergency of international concern.

But Zika's threat to pregnant women and babies is not going away anytime soon, the agency says. Instead, the virus is now a chronic problem, says the WHO's Dr. Pete Salama.

Diarrhea isn't something we usually discuss in public. But as the second leading cause of death for children younger than 5, it's a topic global health advocates want more people to talk openly about.

How do you get people to discuss diarrhea? Ask them to write poetry about it.

That's the idea behind Poo Haiku, a competition created by Defeat DD, a campaign dedicated to the eradication of diarrheal disease.

Optimism. That's what we could all use right now.

So here at Goats and Soda, we're going to give you a whole heaping tablespoon of it. And we'll do it by answering a question from a reader named Ian Matthews that seems to bring the opposite reaction: "How can we stop the spread of antimicrobial resistance?"

As it turns out, the answer has a surprisingly positive message.

In Western and Central Africa a new technique to combat malaria is rapidly gaining traction across the Sahel. Health officials in 11 countries are now giving children antimalarial drugs during the rainy season in this semi-arid region and seeing a dramatic drop in the number of malaria cases.

Donald Trump will take office at a pivotal time for the world's neediest.

The world's wealthy countries have, since 2000, been part of a historic partnership with poor countries to eliminate poverty and roll back diseases.

The Ebola virus doesn't always make people incredibly sick, and some people who are infected don't even know they have it, according to research published Tuesday in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

The devastation in floods, earthquakes or droughts is generally measured by how much stuff or assets people lose — say the number of wrecked houses and the dollar amount it would take to rebuild them. In the course of a year, that adds up to a lot of money: $300 billion by some accounts.

An experimental vaginal ring that continuously releases the anti-HIV drug dapivirine has the potential to save lives.

But what's it going to do to sex lives?

On November 14 at a ceremony in Los Angeles, Bono will be honored as one of Glamour's Women of the Year. He's the first man to make the list.

Can you find beauty in a life of hardship?

If the photos from the Siena International Photo Awards are any indication, the answer is yes. Last month, the winners and runners-up in 11 categories, including travel, nature, people and portraits, were announced.

Many of those top images were taken in the developing world, depicting lives affected by poverty and adversity — but not in the way you might expect.

People and leprosy go way back. Way, way back.

"It's been around for at least 5,000 years and probably longer," says Stewart Cole, who directs the Global Health Institute at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

No one knows what the Trump administration has planned for U.S. foreign aid programs and other global initiatives that fight poverty and disease.

There are some topics that Donald Trump has not addressed. Global advocacy groups such as the ONE Campaign have tried to get Trump to share his ideas of how to "tackle extreme poverty" on the record. After a year of campaigning, he still hasn't responded.

Here at Goats and Soda, we're trying something new: We'd like to know what you want us to investigate. Our first call-out was about girls in the developing world. And last week, we asked you to submit questions on global diseases.

Haiti on Tuesday launched the largest emergency cholera vaccination campaign ever attempted. The plan is to try to vaccinate 800,000 people in parts of the country devastated by Hurricane Matthew.

Immediately after the Category 4 storm tore across southwest Haiti last month, the number of reported cholera cases across the country shot up dramatically. In some storm-ravaged areas it jumped tenfold.

Nationwide, the number of new cases went from roughly 75 a day to well over 200.

Donkeys Are Finally Getting More Respect

Nov 7, 2016

Ethiopia's government doesn't want Ethiopia to be thought of as a donkey country.

Donkeys have a reputation there as the lowliest of animals and of being unclean to boot.

Yet Ethiopia has the world's largest population of donkeys. It has 7 million of the animals — outstripping the No. 2 donkey country, China, by about a million.

And life can be pretty tough for a hard-working Ethiopian donkey.

He Thinks He Caught TB From A Wildebeest

Nov 6, 2016

Excruciating chest pain. Night sweats so severe he could ring out his sheets in the morning. A worsening cough. Getting out of breath when he walked his dogs — or tried to complete his regular 6-mile run.

Those were some of the symptoms that veterinarian Jonathan Cranston was feeling six weeks after returning home to England from a trip to South Africa, where he'd been involved in a project that examined the stress level of wildebeests.

At first he blamed the night sweats on his mattress.

Ian Brennan wanted to make a record with music performed by prisoners. He's a Grammy-winning record producer who likes to bring attention to the voices of people who aren't usually heard.

So when he heard that a prison in Malawi had a band, off he went to the maximum security facility. "We just took the leap of faith and went down there," says Brennan, a California native who has worked with artists like Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Bill Frisell and who now lives in Italy.

In Egypt, Saturday nights are for staying in — the workweek starts on Sunday. But for the members of CaiRollers, Egypt's first all-female roller derby team, it's for skating.

The team's 20 members meet for three hours every week, at the Cairo International Stadium's outdoor handball courts, to practice. It's an aggressive game, requiring full body contact like hip and shoulder checks. But that's why players like Lina El-Gohary, 27, love it.

"It makes you believe that you're still able to learn at any age. It empowers you," she says.

Cholera can kill a person in a matter of hours.

It's a severe gastro-intestinal disease, and it can trigger so much diarrhea and vomiting that patients can rapidly become dehydrated. They lose so much fluid that their internal organs shut down.

One mutation. A simple tweak in the Ebola gene — a C got turned into a T. That's all it took to make Ebola more infectious during the West Africa epidemic, scientists report Thursday.

Two studies, published in the journal Cell, found that a single mutation arose early in the epidemic. It allows Ebola to infect human cells more easily than the original version of the virus — way more easily.

In 2015, Mausi Segun was conducting research for a report on attacks on teachers and students in camps for internally displaced people in northeast Nigeria. She's the senior researcher for Nigeria for Human Rights Watch, an international nongovernmental group that publishes about 100 reports a year on human rights issues.

The people she met wanted her to look into a different topic.

"People walked up to us and asked why we were not researching the violence against women in the camps," she told Goats and Soda.

If I could pick when and where I was born, I'd choose 2016 and Hong Kong, instead of 1986 and the U.S.

That way, I'd have an extra seven years of life — the increase in life expectancy from then until now. As A Hong Konger, I'd have a good chance of living to 84 years old — that society has the highest life expectancy on record. And vaccines for deadly diseases like rotavirus and HPV would have already been invented.

"I would like to know more about microloans, and if they are in fact helping women start businesses in the developing world."

That's the question our readers wanted us to look into.

In Florence, Italy, Tom Hanks has partial amnesia, but that doesn't stop him from battling extremists and a virus they created to end earth's population surge by wiping out half of humanity.

Can Poverty Lead To Mental Illness?

Oct 30, 2016

After a mother killed her four young children and then herself last month in rural China, onlookers quickly pointed to life circumstances.

The family lived in extreme poverty, and bloggers speculated that her inability to escape adversity pushed her over the edge.

Can poverty really cause mental illness?

It's a complex question that is fairly new to science. Despite high rates of both poverty and mental disorders around the world, researchers only started probing the possible links about 25 years ago.

Shocked by someone wearing a costume inspired by the Zika virus? Don't be. People have been dressing up as infectious diseases for hundreds of years, way before trick-or-treating became an American Halloween tradition in the 1920s.

Take this quiz to see how much you know about global disease costumes of the past and present:

The video shows an enraged man repeatedly hitting a woman in an apartment elevator.

Filmed in the northern Chinese city of Langfang, the security camera footage went viral last Friday. In the video, the woman fights back, eventually pushing the man out of the elevator as her child cowers behind a bicycle.

The reason for his behavior? The woman said she requested that he stop smoking in the elevator.

According to Chinese media, the man is still at large.

Pages