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For immediate release
October 26, 2005
Chad Campbell, NPR: |  202.513.2304

NPR to Explore Crucial Global Health Issues in Multi-Part Series Beginning October 29 on NPR News Magazines

Reporting from Around the World, NPR Examines Unprecedented Mobilization of Governments and Private Organizations; Series is Part of "Rx for Survival – A Global Health Challenge" Multi-Media Project

Washington, DC -– NPR continues its longstanding commitment to in-depth exploration of global health issues with a multi-part series highlighting the unprecedented action underway to battle the major diseases affecting humankind.

The series, produced around the world in such places as Ghana, Vietnam, the Niger Delta, Brazil and Kenya, El Salvador and Indonesia, will span NPR programming, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Day to Day, Weekend Edition Saturday and Weekend Edition Sunday. It begins on Saturday, October 29.

NPR’s series is part of "Rx for Survival", a major multi-media commitment to global health. NPR is joining many of the country’s leading news organizations in focusing the world’s attention on current and emerging global health issues and the efforts aimed at addressing them. The project’s cornerstone is a six-part PBS series, also entitled "Rx for Survival," airing November 1-3 and co-produced by WGBH/NOVA and Vulcan Productions.

"NPR listeners seek a global perspective, and the challenges and potential solutions related to world health have been a significant part of our news efforts for years," noted Peggy Girshman, Assistant Managing Editor, NPR News. "Our goal with this series is to dig deeper into the issues by being on the ground in the very places where the problems are urgent, where people are experiencing them and fixing them, and tell these stories through their own voices."

A theme of the NPR series is the unprecedented mobilization of governments and private organizations to fight the major diseases affecting populations worldwide. These nations and groups are creating health systems where none now exist and transforming the fundamentals of health care elsewhere. This movement was initiated by the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and sharpened by the appearance of new diseases such as SARS, along with new political leadership from the UN, lawmakers in several wealthy nations and both organizational and individual philanthropy.

Some of the segments include:

How AIDS is re-shaping world history, particularly in the relationship between rich and poor countries

The potential emergence of a pandemic flu and the intensive efforts underway to stop outbreaks before a crisis starts; this includes the concept of "social distancing" potentially-affected people as well as stockpiling antiviral drugs

How Medecins Sans Frontieres is bringing state-of-the-art treatments for malaria to a remote community in the Niger Delta

Inside the battle against hookworm, one of the great neglected diseases: scientists are developing a vaccine that would protect more than 740 million people

The global health failure of polio: how a new outbreak is being fueled by parents’ distrust of the vaccine’s safety

How Africa takes care of its own: on the ground with a surgeon who flies into remote villages in Kenya who provides high-quality, sophisticated health care

How the exodus of qualified doctors and nurses from Africa to high-paying jobs in English-speaking countries is affecting health, and what is being done in their training to turn this around

How rural communities in El Salvador are learning to solve dirty water problems and improve community health

The latest strategies in health aid to treat disease caused by malnourishment: they’re proving successful in combating famine-related death

NPR reporters participating in the series are Brenda Wilson, Richard Knox, Richard Harris, Joe Palca, Joanne Silberner, Jonathan Hamilton and Ofeibea Quist-Arcton. Producers are Brigid McCarthy, Alison Macadam, Jane Greenhalgh, Rebecca Davis, Deborah George and Anna Vigran. Other NPR staff working on the project are Anne Gudenkauf, Joe Neel, Alison Richards, Vikki Valentine and Douglas Hopper.

NPR correspondents have been in the forefront of reporting on such global issues as the worldwide impact of epidemics, the spread of AIDS through developing nations, the emergence of new diseases such as SARS and the development of life-saving treatments such as new vaccines for malaria. Their work can be heard on all NPR programming.

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 26 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 780 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, offers hourly newscasts, special features and eight years of archived audio and information.