Jason Beaubien

Jason Beaubien is NPR's Global Health and Development Correspondent on the Science Desk.

In this role, he reports on a range of health issues across the world. He's covered mass circumcision drives in Kenya, abortion in El Salvador, poisonous gold mines in Nigeria, drug-resistant malaria in Myanmar and tuberculosis in Tajikistan. He was part of a team of reporters at NPR that won a Peabody Award in 2015 for their extensive coverage of the West Africa Ebola outbreak. His current beat also examines development issues including why Niger has the highest birth rate in the world, can private schools serve some of the poorest kids on the planet and the links between obesity and economic growth.

Prior to becoming the Global Health and Development Correspondent in 2012, Beaubien spent four years based in Mexico City covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In that role, Beaubien filed stories on politics in Cuba, the 2010 Haitian earthquake, the FMLN victory in El Salvador, the world's richest man and Mexico's brutal drug war.

For his first multi-part series as the Mexico City correspondent, Beaubien drove the length of the U.S./Mexico border making a point to touch his toes in both oceans. The stories chronicled the economic, social and political changes along the violent frontier.

In 2002, Beaubien joined NPR after volunteering to cover a coup attempt in the Ivory Coast. Over the next four years, Beaubien worked as a foreign correspondent in sub-Saharan Africa, visiting 27 countries on the continent. His reporting ranged from poverty on the world's poorest continent, the HIV in the epicenter of the epidemic, and the all-night a cappella contests in South Africa, to Afro-pop stars in Nigeria and a trial of white mercenaries in Equatorial Guinea.

During this time, he covered the famines and wars of Africa, as well as the inspiring preachers and Nobel laureates. Beaubien was one of the first journalists to report on the huge exodus of people out of Sudan's Darfur region into Chad, as villagers fled some of the initial attacks by the Janjawid. He reported extensively on the steady deterioration of Zimbabwe and still has a collection of worthless Zimbabwean currency.

In 2006, Beaubien was awarded a Knight-Wallace fellowship at the University of Michigan to study the relationship between the developed and the developing world.

Beaubien grew up in Maine, started his radio career as an intern at NPR Member Station KQED in San Francisco and worked at WBUR in Boston before joining NPR.

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9:36am

Wed August 12, 2015
Goats and Soda

Goats May Be Unwelcome In Zimbabwe's Capital, But D.C. Loves Them

Originally published on Wed August 12, 2015 11:55 am

Peanut, age 5, prepares for an afternoon of eating the leaves of the invasive honeysuckle.
John W. Poole NPR

On the same week that President Robert Mugabe made it clear that goats are not welcome in the streets of Zimbabwe's capital, a herd of goats got a hero's welcome in the capital of the free world.

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3:18pm

Fri August 7, 2015
Goats and Soda

11 Billion People By 2100 — And India Will Be More Populous Than China

Originally published on Wed August 12, 2015 12:04 pm

The crowded streets of Kolkata, India, are only going to get more crowded.
Randy Olson/National Geographic

Today there are 7.3 billion people on planet Earth, according to the United Nations.

If you think that's a lot ... just wait.

A new U.N. report forecasts the biggest growth spurt in history. By the year 2030, the report predicts, Earth's population is expected to jump to 8.5 billion. And by the end of the century, the projection is 11.2 billion. That's about 6 percent higher than earlier forecasts.

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2:12pm

Fri July 24, 2015
Goats and Soda

Why A Vaccine That Works Only A Third Of The Time Is Still A Good Deal

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 9:11 pm

A baby helps make history. The Kenyan child is receiving the new malaria vaccine — the first ever that can wipe out a parasite — as part of a clinical trial.
Karel Prinsloo AP

Malaria sickens tens of millions each year and kills roughly 500,000, mainly in Africa. A vaccine has been seen as the holy grail in global efforts against the disease.

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5:02am

Thu July 16, 2015
Goats and Soda

Chicken Owners Brood Over CDC Advice Not To Kiss, Cuddle Birds

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 2:25 pm

Ioanna Mattke holds Raven, one of six hens that her family owns. The Mattkes have raised Raven since she was a day old.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Don't kiss your chickens!

That's the message from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is blaming a salmonella outbreak on backyard chicken owners being overly affectionate with their flocks.

The CDC says more than 180 people have come down with salmonella across the U.S. this year from contact with backyard poultry. Thirty-three of them became so sick they required hospitalization.

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4:33am

Thu July 9, 2015
Goats and Soda

Who's Still Poor? Who's Made It To Middle Income? Pew Has New Data

Originally published on Thu July 9, 2015 1:54 pm

Alyson Hurt NPR

Over the last decade, economic growth lifted almost a billion people around the world out of extreme poverty. Unfortunately, it didn't lift them very far.

A rising economic tide has been concentrated in just a few regions of the world, and it's failed to raise many people into the middle class.

By U.S. standards, most of the world remains terribly poor.

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5:04am

Fri June 26, 2015
Goats and Soda

Polio Is Active In Only 3 Countries. Soon It Could Be Down To 2

Originally published on Fri June 26, 2015 7:35 am

At the health clinic in Minjibir, Nigeria, a child is immunized for polio.
David Gilkey NPR

Nigeria is on the verge of being polio-free. And that would mean that for the first time ever there's no ongoing polio transmission on the African continent.

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5:44am

Sat June 20, 2015
Goats and Soda

North Korea Announces Cure For MERS (As If)

Originally published on Sat June 20, 2015 7:55 am

To screen for MERS, an official at South Korea's customs gate checks the body heat of a worker arriving from North Korea.
JUNG YEON-JE AFP/Getty Images

As South Koreans continue to struggle with the worst outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, ever recorded outside the Middle East, their comrades to the north say, "We've got a cure for that!"

The World Health Organization says there's no known cure or vaccine for MERS, but state-run media in Pyongyang reports a wonder drug called Kumdang-2 will do the trick. The report makes no mention of whether Pyongyang is going to offer this miracle compound to its neighbor to the south. Or as the news agency puts it: "the Korean puppet authorities" in Seoul.

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2:29pm

Fri June 19, 2015
Goats and Soda

Why Ebola Won't Go Away In West Africa

Originally published on Sat June 20, 2015 1:19 am

A police officer guards the home of a family under a 21-day Ebola quarantine in Freetown, Sierra Leone, back in March.
Michael Duff AP

Ebola has dug in its heels.

Despite dramatic drops in the overall numbers of reported cases, Sierra Leone and Guinea are still struggling to stop the deadly disease.

Case tallies in both countries have dipped towards zero in the past few months, only to bounce back up. Sierra Leone reported 14 new cases this week and Guinea counted 10.

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5:13pm

Sun June 14, 2015
Goats and Soda

Why MERS Is Likely To Crop Up Outside The Middle East Again

Originally published on Mon June 15, 2015 2:09 pm

A dangerous nuzzle? A man in western Abu Dhabi hugs a camel brought in from Saudi Arabia for beauty contests. Middle East respiratory syndrome circulates in camels across the Arabian Peninsula.
Dave Yoder National Geographic

Blame it on the camels.

When scientists first detected Middle East respiratory syndrome in 2012, the big question was: Where is this virus coming from?

For several years, scientists hunted the deadly virus across the Arabian Peninsula, and eventually they found at least one source — dromedary camels.

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1:14pm

Fri June 5, 2015
Goats and Soda

Behind The Story: What Made NPR Look Into Red Cross Efforts In Haiti?

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 9:01 pm

After the quake of 2010, a man stands on a rooftop yelling for any sign of his missing relatives in a Port-au-Prince neighborhood.
David Gilkey NPR

Where did the money go? An NPR and ProPublica investigation has raised troubling questions about what happened to the hundreds of millions of dollars raised by the American Red Cross for earthquake relief in Haiti.

Goats and Soda posed a few questions to NPR correspondent Laura Sullivan about her work on this investigation.

What made you decide to look into the American Red Cross's earthquake recovery spending in Haiti?

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