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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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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6:00pm

Mon November 11, 2013
Shots - Health News

Aid Groups Struggle To Reach Survivors Of Typhoon Haiyan

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 8:08 am

Military personnel from the U.S. and the Philippines unload relief goods at the Tacloban airport, Nov. 11, 2013. Some reports estimate that 10,000 people may have died in the city of Tacloban.
Ted Aljibe AFP/Getty Images

Aid agencies are scrambling to try to get water and food to people in the Philippines who've been left homeless or injured by Typhoon Haiyan.

But reaching some of the areas ravaged by the intense storm is proving difficult. Even when aid can make it onto the islands, it's still not clear what supplies are needed the most.

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12:34pm

Fri November 8, 2013
Shots - Health News

Polio In The Middle East And Africa Could Threaten Europe

A doctor vaccinates a child against polio at a health clinic in Damascus, Syria, on Nov. 6. To stop the disease from spreading beyond Syria, health officials plan to vaccinate 20 million children in the region.
Youssef Badawi EPA /LANDOV

Polio outbreaks in the Middle East and Africa could spread to Europe if precautions aren't taken, researchers say.

The recent discovery of the poliovirus in Syria, Somalia and Israel should be a wake-up call for European health officials, according to epidemiologist Martin Eichner at the University of Tuebingen in Germany.

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6:25pm

Thu October 31, 2013
Shots - Health News

Polio Has Not Returned To South Sudan, After All

We reported Wednesday that the polio outbreak in Somalia had spread to South Sudan. But health officials say that they were mistaken. There have been no polio cases in the country since 2009.

The World Health Organization said previously that it had confirmed three cases of polio in South Sudan back in August.

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4:29am

Wed October 30, 2013
Shots - Health News

Violence, Chaos Let Polio Creep Back Into Syria And Horn Of Africa

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 6:27 pm

The Ethiopian government has set up about a dozen vaccination booths along its thousand-mile border with Somalia.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Update on Thursday, Oct. 31, 6:30 p.m. ET:

A spokesman for the World Health Organization said Thursday that it was mistaken about the polio outbreak in Somalia spreading to South Sudan. The virus has been detected in Kenya and Ethiopia this year. But South Sudan has not recorded a polio case since 2009.

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9:27am

Mon October 21, 2013
Shots - Health News

First Polio Cases Since 1999 Suspected In Syria

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:10 am

Syrian opposition fighters sit on the front line in the city of Deir Ezzor on Oct. 13. Ongoing violence has ravaged the city since March 2011.
AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization is investigating a cluster of possible polio cases in an eastern province of Syria.

If the cases are confirmed, they'd be the first ones in the war-torn nation in more than a decade. The country eliminated polio in 1999.

Syria used to have one of the highest polio vaccination rates in the region. If the virus has returned, it would be a high-profile example of the ramifications of the collapse of Syria's once-vaunted public health system.

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11:54am

Thu September 5, 2013
Shots - Health News

Tuberculosis Hitched A Ride When Early Humans Left Africa

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 1:55 pm

Signs of tuberculosis have been found in ancient Egyptian mummies, such as this one in London's British Museum.
Klafubra Wikimedia.org

Dogs often get credit for being humans' constant companions. But dogs have nothing on tuberculosis bacteria.

TB and people have been trapped in a relationship that's been going on for thousands of years — perhaps even tens of thousands of years, scientists said earlier this week.

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12:33pm

Wed September 4, 2013
Shots - Health News

Chronic Illnesses Outpace Infections As Big Killers Worldwide

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 4:41 pm

Percentage of deaths each year due to neonatal disorders around the globe.
Courtesy of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

People around the world are getting healthier and living longer.

Infectious diseases are declining around the globe. But at the same time, chronic health problems are on the rise, particularly in developing nations.

These are some of the key findings in the latest reports released by the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

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3:24am

Mon September 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

To Keep Polio At Bay, Israel Revaccinates A Million Kids

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 10:10 am

In early August, Israel launched a mass campaign to vaccinate children against polio, including this little girl at a clinic in Rahat.
David Buimovitch AFP/Getty Images

Israel is in the midst of a massive, emergency immunization drive of all children under the age of 9 against polio.

Why?

Health workers detected the virus in southern Israel in February. Since then, they've found it in 85 different sewage samples across the country, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative said Wednesday. Yet so far, no children have gotten sick or been paralyzed by the virus.

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5:13pm

Wed August 28, 2013
Shots - Health News

In South Africa, A Clinic Focuses On Prostitutes To Fight HIV

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 9:25 pm

A prostitute in Johannesburg waits for a client on a street corner. An estimated two-thirds of sex workers in South Africa are HIV positive.
Yoav Lemmer AFP/Getty Images

South Africa has come a long way in dealing with AIDS. The country has been successful in getting drug treatment to millions of people infected with HIV.

But the country still has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world — and the virus continues to spread. Nearly 400,000 South Africans are infected with HIV each year.

One health clinic in the heart of Johannesburg is attempting to break the HIV cycle by focusing on people at extremely high risk for infection — prostitutes.

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