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.

In Bangladesh, a new report finds, impoverished children are working long hours in violation of that country's labor laws. Children under the age of 14 who've given up school for jobs are toiling an average 64 hours a week, according to a British think tank. Researchers from the London-based Overseas Development Institute surveyed nearly 3,000 households in the slums of Dhaka. They found children as young as 6 employed full-time and others working up to 100 to 110 hours a week. On average the...

For six years, Haitian activists have demanded that the United Nations accept responsibility for cholera in Haiti. Yet many seemed almost shocked on Thursday by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's apology for the U.N.'s role in the outbreak. Shocked — and pleased. Activists who have screamed on social media, protested in the streets and filed legal claims against the U.N. over the issue welcomed the secretary-general's new plan to address cholera in the deeply impoverished Caribbean nation:...

Each year, the United States gives $5 billion to $6 billion to fight HIV/AIDS around the world, with particular emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for two-thirds of the nearly 2 million new infections each year. For World AIDS Day, we sat down with the U.S. Global AIDS coordinator, Deborah Birx, to talk about the state of the epidemic and the work of PEPFAR, set up by President George W. Bush in 2003 with the intention of saving the lives of people suffering from AIDS around the...

While the HIV/AIDS epidemic no longer looks as menacing as it did in the 1980s and '90s, efforts to stop the spread of the disease have hit a brick wall. The number of people getting infected with HIV each year peaked in 1997 at about 3.5 million. Prevention efforts — including HIV education campaigns, testing programs and the distribution of billions of condoms -- have slashed that figure dramatically. But progress stalled around 2010. Since then the world has tallied about 2 million new...

The number of new Zika cases in Puerto Rico has dropped dramatically in recent weeks, yet health officials worry the full effect of the outbreak on the island may not be known for months or years to come. Puerto Rico has confirmed more than 34,000 Zika infections since the virus was first detected on the island in November 2015. Tyler M. Sharp, acting head of epidemiology at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Dengue Branch in San Juan, says the outbreak peaked during the summer. ...

Have bed nets lost their power to protect people from malaria-carrying mosquitoes? That's the subject of debate among researchers looking for ways to cut down on malaria cases and deaths. Over the past two decades, the insecticide-treated bed net has been one of the most powerful tools against malaria. The nets work in two ways. They block mosquitoes from biting people while they sleep, and the insecticide kills mosquitoes that try to penetrate the webbing and fail. So the nets not only...

He wasn't sure he had the right name to run for student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His first name was pretty ordinary — Bradley. But his last name is Opere — definitely not a familiar-sounding name in the U.S. "You have to have a white-sounding name to run for office," says Opere, a business major who's from Nairobi, Kenya. The ambitious 24-year-old ran anyway. And with his air of quiet confidence – and the skills he gained from two-years spent at the...

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. The technique is called Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention. Over four months, health workers give four doses of anti-malaria drugs to children under age 5. And it's been incredibly successful. Studies have...

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 . "We are finding more and more that there [are patients with] minimally symptomatic Ebola infections," says Dr. Gene Richardson , lead author of the study. "And why wouldn't there be? Just about every other virus that causes infections in humans has a spectrum. Here there is a spectrum of illness...

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. To try to slow...

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. The water-borne disease has been around for centuries, and it remains a global health risk. According to the World Health Organization there are roughly 3 million cases a year and 90,000 deaths. The worst epidemic is now in Haiti, linked to cholera...

For years, the United Nations has refused to publicly acknowledge that its troops were the source of a massive cholera outbreak in Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. But now the U.N. is accepting "moral responsibility" for the outbreak that has sickened nearly 800,000 people and killed more than 9,000 others. The U.N. is currently hashing out a plan that could spend nearly half a billion dollars to address cholera in Haiti. The plan includes compensating Haitians who were "most...

Who's in charge of the aid? That's the question in the hurricane-ravaged southwest of Haiti. Should politicians hand it out? Or aid groups? Or religious leaders? Pastor Louis Masil, who lives in the tiny village of Banatte, doesn't think the government should be in control. "Since the independence of Haiti, the culture was always all governments, all officials only care for themselves," he says. "They only care for stealing the money and not helping the communities." In his village, on the...

The Dumont section of Port Salut on Haiti's southwest coast is spread over rolling green hills that used to be rich with coconut, mango and banana trees. But Hurricane Matthew toppled most of those trees. It tore apart the simple cement and sheet-metal houses in the area. It killed livestock, destroyed crops, smashed businesses. Emmanuello Charlien is part of a team trying to tally the damage of Matthew here. Charlien points out a pile of metal that used to be a cellphone tower. "Natcom,...

In Port Salut, the individual signs of the Hurricane Matthew's destruction are everywhere. A giant mango tree with its thick trunk snapped like a wishbone. A cinder block house crumpled on its foundation. But it's only as you continue to drive through this part of the coast that you see the extent of the damage. The devastation goes on and on. Hillsides are swept clean of trees. Neighborhood after neighborhood is in ruin. On the first Sunday after the storm, parishioners gathered inside the...

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