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 including the mobilization of massive circumcision drives in Kenya; how Botswana, with one of the highest rates of HIV in the world, has managed to provide free, life-saving drugs to almost all who need them; and why Brazil's once model HIV/AIDS program is seen in decline.

Prior to moving into this assignment in 2012, Beaubien spent four years a NPR foreign correspondent covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. From his base in Mexico City, Beaubien filed stories on politics in Cuba, hurricanes in Haiti, 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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8:15am

Fri January 3, 2014
Shots - Health News

Overweight People In Developing World Outnumber Those In Rich Countries

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 8:06 am

Government workers exercise at their office in Mexico City, August 2013. To counter the obesity epidemic, the city requires all government employees to do at least 20 minutes of exercise each day.
Tomas Bravo Reuters /Landov

People are getting fatter around the world. And the problem is growing most rapidly in developing countries, researchers reported Friday.

"Over the last 30 years, the number of people who are overweight and obese in the developing world has tripled," says Steve Wiggins, of the Overseas Development Institute in London.

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3:24am

Fri January 3, 2014
Shots - Health News

Why Ending Malaria May Be More About Backhoes Than Bed Nets

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 8:16 am

Yonta, 6, rests with her brother Leakhena, 4 months, under a mosquito bed net in the Pailin province of Cambodia, where deaths from malaria have decreased sharply in the past two decades.
Paula Bronstein Getty Images

Wiping out malaria is a top goal for many leaders in global health.

Fewer people are dying now from the mosquito-borne disease than at any other time in history. "And there's a very, very strong belief now that malaria can be eliminated," says Joy Phumaphi, who chairs the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.

But when you look at the overall numbers on malaria, eradication almost seems like a pipe dream.

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4:02pm

Wed January 1, 2014
Shots - Health News

Simple, Cheap Health Remedies Cut Child Mortality In Ethiopia

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 12:48 pm

Almaz Acha sits with her baby Alentse at her home in the rural community of Sadoye, in southern Ethiopia. Families in rural communities, like this one, have benefited from Ethiopia's health extension program.
Julien Behal PA Photos /Landov

Poor countries are starting to realize something that richer ones sometimes forget: Basic, inexpensive measures can have dramatic impacts on the health of a country. And they can save thousands of lives.

Take, for instance, the situation in Ethiopia.

The country used to have one of the highest rates of child mortality in the world.

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5:00am

Sat December 28, 2013
Parallels

Rushing Toward Chaos: Covering The Aftermath Of Typhoon Haiyan

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 7:00 pm

A boy stands in the ruins of the leveled a neighborhood in Tacloban. Food and water supplies were almost nonexsistent in the days immediately after the storm.
David Gilkey NPR

It felt like a dream.

The Marines kept flying over us all night long. Their hulking C-130 cargo planes rattled the tarp we'd jerry-rigged above our heads. NPR photographer David Gilkey and I were lying in sleeping bags next to the runway of the destroyed Tacloban airport. We'd arrived a few hours earlier in the back of one of those military aircraft. Now we were just waiting for daybreak.

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8:23am

Sun December 15, 2013
Global Health

They Shot For Zero, But Couldn't Squash Polio In 2013

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 2:43 pm

A polio worker vaccinates a child in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, in October.
Arshad Arbab EPA/Landov

As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year. Numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we're living in, right now. Over the next two weeks, you'll hear the stories behind numbers, ranging from zero to 1 trillion.

The lowest number of polio cases ever recorded in the world during one year was 223. And 2013 was on track for an even lower number.

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5:31pm

Thu December 5, 2013
Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

Nelson Mandela, Inspiration To World, Dies At 95

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 11:57 am

Former South African President Nelson Mandela, one of the world's most respected statesmen, died Thursday at 95.
Denis Farrell AP

Nelson Mandela, who was born in a country that viewed him as a second-class citizen, died Thursday as one of the most respected statesmen in the world. He was 95.

President Jacob Zuma announced the death in a televised speech.

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3:38pm

Wed November 20, 2013
Parallels

A Chronic Problem In Disaster Zones: No Fuel

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 7:00 pm

Filipino men stand in line to fill containers with gas in Tacloban, Philippines, on Sunday. The area experienced widespread gas shortages in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
David Gilkey NPR

In the wake of any natural disaster, there are almost always shortages of fuel. Even in the United States, gas stations shut down during blackouts because there's no electricity to run their pumps.

It was no different in the Philippines, where practically no fuel was available after Typhoon Haiyan struck. Aid agencies said the lack of gasoline was a major impediment to relief efforts.

One small American nonprofit called the Fuel Relief Fund is trying to change that.

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3:31am

Mon November 18, 2013
Typhoon Haiyan Devastates The Philippines

Catholics In Philippines Turn To Church To Cope With Typhoon

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 5:03 pm

A Filipino woman prays at morning Mass at Santo Nino church, which was damaged by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, Philippines, on Sunday.
David Gilkey NPR

Across the ravaged center of the Philippines on Sunday, people flocked to Mass, often in churches that had been severely damaged or destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan.

In many villages in Leyte province, the only structures that survived the storm were churches. Spires and statues of angels look out over fields of smashed houses and twisted typhoon debris.

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1:52pm

Sat November 16, 2013
Typhoon Haiyan Devastates The Philippines

Photos: A Crippled Hospital Aids Desperate Survivors

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 6:50 pm

David P. Gilkey NPR

In the typhoon-ravaged heart of the Philippines, many hospitals were badly damaged or destroyed by the storm. NPR photojournalist David Gilkey and reporter Jason Beaubien visited one battered hospital that continues to serve patients.

More than a week after the storm, the staff at Divine Word Hospital are simultaneously trying to patch up the hospital and take care of patients.

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2:22pm

Tue November 12, 2013
Parallels

Do For-Profit Schools Give Poor Kenyans A Real Choice?

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 1:54 pm

Young students in a Bridge International Academy school in Nairobi, in September. On the surface, there's little to distinguish these schools from others in the developing world. But Bridge's model relies on teachers reading lessons from tablets.
Frederic Courbet for NPR

Bridge International Academies has set up more than 200 schools in Kenya over the past four years, and plans to open 50 more in January.

Using a school-in-a-box model, Bridge's founders say it gives primary schoolkids a quality education for roughly $5 a month.

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