Global Health

Ebola
5:01 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Ebola 'Still Small Potatoes,' But A Major Menace In West Africa

FILE - In this Tuesday Sept. 30, 2014 file photo, Nowa Paye, 9, is taken to an ambulance after showing signs of Ebola infection in the village of Freeman Reserve, about 30 miles north of Monrovia, Liberia.
Jerome Delay AP Photo

As the Ebola outbreak first emerged in West Africa, some global health experts downplayed it. The virus has flared up here and there since it was discovered in the 1970s, and rarely has its death toll exceeded a few dozen or at most a few hundred.

“I actually was among those who didn’t think it would be that big a deal, and like the previous ones, it would be contained and would burn itself out very quickly,” said Tom Paulson, who has been covering global health for nearly 20 years. “I was dead wrong.”

Paulson, the founder and editor of Humanosphere, sat down with KPLU to talk about why he’s changed his mind and come to see Ebola in Africa as a major menace.

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Ebola Preparedness
12:54 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Seattle's Harborview Agrees To Accept Evacuated U.S. Ebola Patients

The Washington Dept. of Health lab in Shoreline is one of 13 cleared to test virus samples for Ebola.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle has agreed to consider accepting Americans infected with Ebola who have been evacuated from Africa. It’s just the fifth hospital in the United States to do so.

UW Medicine, which operates Harborview, said the decision would be based on whether the hospital has capacity at the time. Dr. Timothy Dellit said the hospital’s normal infection controls and a heightened awareness of patients’ travel history will help minimize any risk to health workers or the public.

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Global Health
3:32 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Emerging History Of HIV Pandemic Sheds Light On How Infectious Diseases Spread

FILE - This April 12, 2011 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows an H9 T cell, blue, infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), yellow.
AP Photo/NIAID

A Seattle scientist is helping piece together the history of the HIV pandemic, and the new findings on when and where the pandemic began are helping explain how infectious diseases go global.

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World Population
2:49 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

UW Researchers Forecast More Crowded Planet, Warn Population Could Hit 11 Billion

World population could hit 11 billion by the year 2100.
NASA

The planet could be much more crowded by the end of the century than previously thought, according to a new report by University of Washington researchers.

That contradicts a general consensus that world population growth is likely to stabilize before long. The population has been expected to rise from the current seven billion or so to about nine billion, before leveling off and possibly declining.

But new projections, based on new statistical models, suggest the numbers will not tail off after all. Instead, statistician and sociologist Adrian Raftery said we could hit 11 billion and counting by century’s end.

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Global Health
11:02 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Gates Foundation To Spend $50 Million On Ebola Response

Health workers in protective gear leave after carrying the body of a woman that they suspect died from the Ebola virus, in an area known as Clara Town in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014.
AP Photo

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says it will spend $50 million to support emergency response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, in addition to the $10 million the foundation has already committed.

In an announcement Wednesday, the Seattle-based foundation said the money will go to the United Nations and international organizations involved in fighting transmission of the virus.

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Veterans' Needs
3:39 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Puget Sound VA Says It's Making Progress In Reducing Its Waitlist For Primary Care

The head of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Michael Murphy, says the agency is making progress in getting veterans in to see a primary care doctor, but he says there’s still a lot more work to do to improve care for veterans in this region. 

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Eating Bugs
5:00 am
Tue July 22, 2014

5 Reasons Eating Bugs Could Save The World, According To Seattle's Own 'Bug Chef'

Here's a deep-fried tarantula.
Chugrad McAndrews of Seattle "The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook," published by Ten Speed Press.

Seattle author David George Gordon would be more than happy to share his recipe for his three bee salad or cricket nymph risotto. Try the deep-fried tarantula, the bloomin’ onion of arachnids.

Gordon is known as “the bug chef,” and has written one of the more comprehensive cookbooks showcasing bugs and their kin. He is also a true believer in insects as a food source for an ever-hungrier planet, as laid out in a lengthy U.N. report last year.

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Senior Thesis
5:00 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Public Health Crusader And College Student Talk Sex, AIDS And What Makes Them Mad

Courtesy of Bob Wood.

Editor's Note: “Senior Thesis” is a special week-long series that brings together venerable veterans in various fields with university students hoping to forge a career in the same field.

Bob Wood and Carolyn Wortham sat opposite each other in the KPLU studio, separated by a generation during which a whole lot had happened.

Between the time that Dr. Wood took up arms against the AIDS epidemic and when Wortham took on the same fight, the illness has gone from mysterious killer to manageable condition. The battlefield had moved, to some extent, from urban gay neighborhoods to the developing world.

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Humanosphere
2:46 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Saving newborn lives with a cardboard box

BBC

It’s a safe bet.  Sending cardboard boxes to poor countries will be the next big global child health initiative.

The use of cardboard boxes as child beds in Finland has persisted in popularity for nearly 75 years thanks to this government providing families with these boxed-up maternity packages. The parents are given the option to take 140 euros in cash or a box filled with baby needs. The package includes goodies such outdoor gear for the cold Finnish winters, bedding and diapers. 95% of families choose the box. Then they use it as a crib.

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Global health
1:06 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Why Bill Gates Thinks Ending Polio Is Worth It

There's no better deal than getting polio cases down to zero, philanthropist Bill Gates says.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 1:28 pm

Some critics say that ending polio has become Bill Gates' "white whale."

Why not just settle for the huge drop in polio cases that we've seen over the past decade and then spend money on other things that kill so many more kids, like diarrhea and malnutrition?

"Polio is special," Gates tells NPR's Robert Siegel on All Things Considered. "Once you get it done, you save $2 billion a year that will be applied to those other activities. There's no better deal economically to getting to zero."

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humanosphere
3:11 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Seattle doc makes doc film to draw attention to mental illness

Delaney Ruston spent a lot of her early days as a physician working in clinics for the poor and disenfranchised, like Berkeley Free Clinic and, later, Seattle’s Pike Market Medial Clinic with a few of area’s leading and long-time health activists Les Pittle and Joe Martin.

“Early on, I kept wondering why we, the medical community, usually just communicated by giving talks and writing reports, said Delaney. Why, she wondered, did the medical community not make better use of video, especially as a form of physician-doctor communication, since it is so emotionally compelling, personal and we’re such visual animals?

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humanosphere
8:58 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Seattle-based PATH to help produce anti-malarial drug at cost

An African child suffering form cerebral palsy is seen in this photo.
Mike Urban Humansophere

Malaria remains one of the world’s biggest killers and also a massive economic drag on poor countries, poor families.

One of our best weapons against this scourge is a drug known as artemisinin, which is harvested from the plant sweet wormwood and, as a crop, is about as predictable as corn or hog futures.

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Global Health
2:10 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Gates Foundation wants to make safe sex more fun

bnilsen Flickr

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation thinks safe sex isn’t as much fun as it should be.

At least, that seems to be the gist of one request for a grant application from the world’s largest philanthropy as part of its Grand Challenges Explorations program. One of the goals for this round is to develop a better condom.

“It is a bit unusual,” said Stephen Ward, the program officer with the Gates Foundation administering the project.

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Global Health
12:54 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Big data gets another blessing from Bill Gates

Screenshot from Bill Gates' talk as IMHE unveiled a new online tool March 5th.

Sometimes seeing data presented in the right way can change your entire view of the world. 

Bill Gates says that’s what happened to him 20 years ago, with global health:

“I was completely stunned by the burden of disease in poor countries, to see that diarrhea was killing literally millions of children, and that some of those causes of diarrhea, like rotavirus, were preventable," he said. "There was a vaccine available in rich countries, but ironically, not in poor countries."

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Global Health
5:54 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

After consulate bombing, Libyan doctors getting help in Seattle

Former Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens left unfinished projects when he was murdered last September.
Seattle Children's

The rocket attack in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens gets plenty of attention in Congress. But, not many have heard about a global health project Stevens left behind.

When Stevens was murdered last Sept. 11th in Benghazi, Libya, he had a meeting scheduled with a group of doctors the very next day, Sept. 12th. They're trying to setup Libya’s first modern 911 system.

Now, Stevens' sister, in Seattle, is bringing a higher profile to that unfinished project – helping a group from Boston that’s working with the Libyan doctors.

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