It was two days after the young Yemeni man was released from surgery that the doctors first noticed the smell. The bullet that wounded the leg of the 22-year-old college student had shattered bone and torn a hole in the soft tissue. Now, the wound was emitting a distinct smell, described in the medical literature as “offensive.” It strongly suggested infection, perhaps life-threatening, and the wound was not getting better.
Realizing that normal antibiotics were not working, the doctors at a trauma center run by Doctors Without Borders sent a blood culture for analysis to their new microbiology lab, the only one of its kind in the region.… Seguir leyendo »
Americans love success stories. Go to the Web sites of the United States Agency for International Development, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or a plethora of global health and development organizations, and you’ll find articles, charts and videos documenting their triumphs and innovations, with the promise of more on the way.
Beyond simply doing good, there’s an impetus to show success: nongovernmental organizations, contractors and researchers want a good track record, funding officials must show they are spending wisely, and journal editors want to highlight breakthroughs.
But “success stories” are rarely the whole story. Global health and development projects frequently go off course, and it’s not unusual for them to fail outright.… Seguir leyendo »
This past summer I came across a camel that had lost its hump. After a long journey in search of pasture, the beast was swaying beside a brackish well, its ribs and hip bones showing. The hump hung flaccid off its back like a deflated balloon.
I was in northern Kenya, which is suffering through the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in 60 years. The toll of deprivation is everywhere. In the village of Kursin, emaciated livestock are collapsing in the middle of town; the local headmaster, Ismael Ali, told me they’ve “had a problem with dead carcasses around the school.” Attendance dropped sharply since the beginning of the year, as many families left the parched region with their flocks, some even crossing into war-torn Somalia in search of food.… Seguir leyendo »