The New York Times: Sunday Review February 1, 2013
Mumbai, India and Cambridge, Mass.: Americans love success stories. But “success stories” are rarely the whole story. Last year an Obama administration official called on the aid community to adopt a “permanent campaign mind-set,” in which fund-raising and promotion are on the front burner. This creates an incentive to go for easy victories, highlight successes and bury failures. Even with the new fad in the aid world for metrics and impact assessments, their public reports are rarely forthcoming about missteps.
That’s bad science.
Easier than taking vitamins
The New York Times: Fixes September 5, 2012
Kisumu, Kenya and Cambridge, Mass.: An innovative method of fortifying food at home offers hope to the estimated 300 million children who suffer from anemia. But implementing even a seemingly straightforward public health intervention can be tricky.
Mapping Toilets in a Mumbai Slum Yields Unexpected Results
The New York Times: India Ink July 22, 2012
Mumbai, India: This January, a team of students
from the Harvard School of Public Health traveled to Mumbai, to work for three
weeks in one of the city's oldest slums, Cheeta Camp. They made a surprising
finding: there was only one toilet per 170 people. Nobody really knew where
they all were, who was running them, or even which ones worked. So they decided
to make a map.
Interview: A Business-Like Approach to Foreign Aid
Foreign Policy May 3, 2012
A conversation with USAID administrator Rajiv Shah on expanding public-private partnerships and integrating development and emergency intervention.
reports cases of totally drug-resistant tuberculosis
The Lancet January 21, 2012
Mumbai, India: Mismanagement of tuberculosis in Mumbai has led to the emergence of India's first known cases of a totally drug-resistant form of the disease, say doctors.
Researchers identified 12 patients with a virulent strain of TB that seems to be resistant to all known treatments.
The Famine Next Time
The New York Times November 26, 2011
Wajir, Kenya: This past summer I came across
a camel that had lost its hump. After a long journey in search of pasture,
the beast was swaying beside a brackish well, its ribs and hip bones showing.
I was in northern Kenya, which is suffering through the worst drought to hit
the Horn of Africa in 60 years. Unlike earthquakes or hurricanes, droughts and food price increases
take time to develop, and the resulting hunger crises are forecast well in
advance. From water harvesting to livestock support to cash assistance, there
are a plethora of steps that could have significantly ameliorated the current
crisis. Why weren’t they taken?
Escaping from Somalia's Famine into a Perilous Refuge
Time August 3, 2011
The Dadaab refugee camps, Kenya: Realizing that
we are lost, we park near a dried-out tree on the edge of the Hagadera refugee
camp, one of the three in the Dadaab complex in eastern Kenya, when a man
runs toward me shouting, urgently asking for help. ... The man, an aid worker
named Maash, tells me that a woman who has just given birth is hemorrhaging
and needs to get to a hospital right away.
Global food crisis takes heavy toll on east Africa
The Lancet July 2, 2011
An estimated 8·8 million people in east Africa are going hungry, and a sluggish international response is failing to address the growing crisis, which is approaching famine conditions in some areas. The USA, Europe, and other wealthy donors, despite warnings forecasting the crisis since late last year, have responded too little and too late, forcing international aid agencies to reduce emergency feeding programmes in the region.
struggles to make its voice heard
The Lancet September 11, 2010
Shashemene, Ethiopia: Disparities in funding are causing frustration in Ethiopia, where the government is finding it difficult to align the priorities of donors with needs on the ground. The biggest needs for
the country are typical: water, transportation, and more doctors, nurses,
and midwives. Yet all of these basics receive little attention from foreign
donors. A large proportion of foreign aid to the cash-strapped country goes
towards HIV/AIDS, even though the national
prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS is a relatively low, the country receives ten times the amount
spent on maternal health, despite the fact that Ethiopia's death rate for
mothers giving birth is among the highest in the world.
A Perilous Journey: The mortal danger of poverty
The Economist June 24, 2010
Chiapas, Mexico: Outside the main hospital in San Cristóbal de las Casas, women in traditional multicoloured garb queue up to see a doctor. Many are pregnant or carry infants on their backs. One expectant mother says she fears there will not be a bed for her when she enters labour—all too common in the overcrowded hospital. Tales of deaths from hypertension, haemorrhage or infection during or after giving birth are common in the second city of the state of Chiapas. In a nearby village, one doctor recalls a woman whose journey took so long that she died on the street outside his clinic.
Afghanistan's hidden health issue
The Lancet October 31, 2009
While US and NATO forces debate the strategic merits
of committing tens of thousands of more troops to Afghanistan, issues of poverty
and undernutrition have received curiously little attention: about a third
of the population, more than 7 million people, are food insecure, according
the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Another 8·5 million people are on
in Guatemala: A national shame
The Economist August 27, 2009
Guatemala City: It is hardly one of Latin America’s poorest countries, but according to Unicef almost half of Guatemala’s children are chronically malnourished—the sixth-worst performance in the world. The chronic problem has become acute.
The Atlantic.com August 26,
Quiché and Chiquimula, Guatemala: Article and narrated photo essay about the long-running problem of Guatemala's malnutrition, and why there is not enough being done to stop it. The real problem: poverty and income inequality.
Rock for Muslims
The New York Times May 10, 2005
Marrakesh, Morocco: In a sprawling open space alongside
the Royal Palace here last Saturday night, Baimik Youness and his friend Salahe
Boudde were jumping with excitement, about to see their first American rock
concert. The Moroccan students had never heard of the band, Rock 'n' Roll
Worship Circus. Nor had they realized that the three-day concert they were
attending was a Christian rock festival."It's not my business," said Mr. Youness,
an 18-year-old Muslim and heavy-metal fan. "I just want to listen to the music."
But Mr. Boudde had a question: "What are 'evangelicals'?"
Boogie Desert Nights
April 4, 2005
Ausserd Refugee Camp, Algeria: After a bumpy flight
from Madrid to the military airport in Tindouf, Algeria, we jammed ourselves
and our backpacks into an antique bus, along with bulky cases containing film
projectors and medicines. We passed through an Algerian Army checkpoint, then
headed into the pitch black of the Sahara.