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 issues across the world. He's covered the plight of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, mass cataract surgeries in Ethiopia, 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 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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In the wake of one of the most devastating moments in Haiti's arduous history, there has been a bright spot.

One week after Haiti's president was assassinated, the country's first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines finally arrived.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in his heavily guarded private residence on July 7 shocked the nation. But it happened at a time when violence is surging in the country. Many Haitians say that killings, kidnappings and random shootings are at levels they've never seen before.

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David Moinina Sengeh is not your typical education minister. The 34-year-old with a Ph.D. from MIT not only oversees the public schools in Sierra Leone, he's also the nation's chief innovation officer. And that's in addition to being a recording artist, a clothing designer and an inventor.

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FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — President Biden this month announced plans to ship a half a billion doses of the Pfizer vaccine to the 100 lowest income countries in the world. That would include Sierra Leone and many other sub-Saharan African nations.

Hospital wards across Uganda are filling with COVID-19 patients as the country faces an aggressive surge in cases. One of the biggest issues have: a serious shortage of oxygen.

Over the last month, the number of daily reported infections has increased tenfold, showing no signs of letting up. Cases have jumped from less than 100 a day in mid-May to 1,584 on June 18. "ICU bed capacity is now full, almost at 100%," says Willy Tabu, a physician based in Kampala who helps coordinate Mercy Corps response to the pandemic.

Sahr Tarawaly is proud to be the breadwinner for his family. Each day the 14- year-old fetches water for several of his neighbors. He collects firewood to sell by the side of the road. He goes around to construction sites and asks for work sweeping and cleaning up debris. When fishing boats come in, he helps them draw in their nets.

"I used to like mathematics," the round-faced teenager says. But that was in the past. "Now I go down to the beach to fish, to have fish to eat."

Sahr dropped out of school two years when he was 12.

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FREETOWN, Sierra Leonoe — Gunmen opened fire at 2 a.m., killing more than 160 people in the West African nation of Burkina Faso over the weekend, according to local officials.

The assault on the village of Solhan on Saturday is the latest incident in a region reeling from a recent coup and plagued by instability. Human rights groups say it was the worst attack on civilians in the region in years.

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A massacre over the weekend left more than 130 people dead in Burkina Faso.

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From the get-go, the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was different.

This week, President Biden announced that the U.S. will be sending millions of doses of COVID vaccines abroad by the beginning of July. But he said the U.S. would not be doling out these life-saving vaccines simply to curry favor with allies ravaged by the pandemic.

Haiti has one of the lowest death rates from COVID-19 in the world.

As of the end of April, only 254 deaths were attributed to COVID-19 in Haiti over the course of the entire pandemic. The Caribbean nation, which often struggles with infectious diseases, has a COVID-19 death rate of just 22 per million. In the U.S. the COVID-19 death rate is 1,800 per million, and in parts of Europe. the fatality rate is approaching 3,000 deaths per million.

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Earlier this month, Namibia's president was invited to join the World Health Organization's weekly press briefing to talk about World Health Day. The idea was for him to help explain to the hundreds of reporters from around the world what was happening with COVID-19 immunization efforts in his southern African nation.

In what has become all too common during the pandemic, the video connection was unstable. President Hage Geingob kept freezing on the screen. The audio would become muffled and incomprehensible, or the sound would drop out entirely.

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Greta Thunberg, the 18-year-old Swedish environmental activist, is now lobbying world leaders to make sure that COVID vaccines are distributed equitably around the globe.

Speaking at a Monday press conference for the World Health Organization, Thunberg called it is "unethical" that young people at low-risk from COVID in rich nations are being vaccinated before health care workers in low-income countries.

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Cuba has a dream — to have so much COVID-19 vaccine that not only could everyone on the island get immunized but Cuba would give it away to friends and allies around the world. There would be so many doses, Cuban officials would even offer free inoculations to tourists on arrival at the airport in Havana.

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Two teams of European scientists, working independently, say they believe they've identified the cause of a rare blood clotting condition that has occurred in some people after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

If correct, their research could mean any blood clots that occur could be easily treated.

There were reports earlier this month of roughly 30 blood clots occurring after vaccination, a few of them fatal. This led more than a dozen European countries to suspend their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

For anyone looking forward to the annual frivolity of spring break or the diversion offered every year by March Madness, the coronavirus pandemic is once again reminding: not so fast.

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The Biden administration says it plans to send millions of doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Canada and Mexico. That vaccine isn't yet authorized for use here in the U.S. Here's White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

In some countries, citizens are grumbling about the inefficient rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. It's unclear exactly when doses will be available. Websites for appointments keep crashing. Lines are long.

And then there are the 130 countries that "are yet to administer a single dose," according to UNICEF. That's 2.5 billion people who so far have been completely shut out of the global vaccine campaign.

The World Health Organization says countries should move forward with using the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID vaccine even in places with variant strains of the virus.

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