All posts tagged global health

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Should Volunteers Who Live in Poverty Be Paid?


Across the developing world, many international charities rely on local, volunteer staff to perform all kinds of work. Many volunteers provide low-level assistance to organizations. However, thousands of volunteer healthcare workers are bringing vital skills and expertise to rural areas, which suffer from a severe shortage of doctors and nurses.

Many praise the “volunteer spirit” that makes rural healthcare possible, but what about the well-being of the volunteers themselves, many of whom are poor? Read more…

Long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets

Bed Nets – A Simple Idea Proves Complicated

My first Tracking Charity story with PRI’s The World investigates a seemingly simple and promising technology: the insecticide treated bed net. Hundreds of millions of nets were distributed across Africa as part of a multibillion dollar campaign to fight malaria. The nets were supposed to last from three to five years and protect people from malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

My story from the African nation of Malawi shows how growing insecticide resistance is now compromising the power of the nets. And I meet many families who say their nets became riddled with holes after less than a year of use. Read more…

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A Photo Op I Chose to Miss

I recently returned from Africa, a place I reported on for many years. I thought I knew the territory pretty well, so I was surprised to find myself facing some ethical dilemmas that I hadn’t confronted before. Read more…

A child amputee sits up in her hospital bed in Jacmel, Haiti. UN Photo/Marco Dormino. www.un.org/av/photo/

Photos from a Surgeon in Haiti

Most of these photos were sent to me by Dr. Nadine Semer, a plastic surgeon based in Los Angeles. Semer wrote to me to tell me about the concerns she had after volunteering in post-quake Haiti. Read more…

The above photo shows a Haitian woman undergoing surgery in a parking lot without anesthesia. Photo Courtesy: Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Haiti’s Medical Volunteers – Helping or Harming?

EDITOR’S NOTE: To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, we are reposting this podcast in cased you missed it the first time around. The concerns raised in this investigation remain to this day.

Doctors and nurses responded when Haiti was shaken by a deadly earthquake in 2010.

From across the United States and around the globe, an untold number of men and women took leave from their jobs and flew to Haiti to provide assistance to the injured.

In our latest episode, Tiny Spark takes a look at the quality of care those volunteers provided.  While they may have been well-intentioned, medical volunteers’ lack of specialized training would sometimes have severe repercussions for patients. Read more…