Esther Sambiri, 16, a volunteer health communicator, advocates for the HPV vaccine in the eastern district of Nyanga, Zimbabwe. Dec. 16, 2021. Image: Farai Mutsaka

Global Health NOW’s Local Reporting Initiative: Storytelling at the Source

Sharing underreported global health stories has always been a top priority for Global Health NOW—and now our Local Reporting Initiative gives us the ideal platform. With generous support from GHN readers, we’re building up a network of journalists around the world to tell global health stories with a local’s keen eye—reporting on stories overlooked and undercovered by the mainstream media, straight from the countries affected, while supporting international journalists.

We’re pleased to share our first exclusive stories under the initiative, by talented writers from Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa:

The World Health Assembly: What It Does, Why It Matters – By Priti Patnaik, May 16, 2022
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Representatives from 194 member states gather for the opening of the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva on May 20, 2019. Image: Brian W. Simpson

Representatives from 194 member states gather for the opening of the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva on May 20, 2019. Image: Brian W. Simpson

Each May, representatives from the 194 member states of the WHO gather in Geneva to discuss, argue, haggle, and sign off on the agency’s priorities and policies.
The high-stakes gathering is called the World Health Assembly, and it’s the premier decision-making body of the WHO.
Read this primer to learn what happens at the WHA, why it’s important, and who the players are.

Priti Patnaik is the founding editor of Geneva Health Files, a weekly investigative newsletter that tracks power and politics in global health. She is based in Geneva. 

As Population Climbs, Hygiene Suffers in Slums  By Dominic Kirui, March 23, 2022
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Mary Ndira sist outside their house next to a drainage in Kibera slums on March 2, 2022 Photo-Dominic Kiruli

Mary Ndira sist outside their house next to a drainage in a Kibera slum on March 2, 2022. Image: Dominic Kirui

  • Mary Ndira, who has a raw sewage drain running through her doorstep, knows that the water in her crowded village isn’t safe. But in Kenya’s Kibera slum, government water and sanitation services can’t keep up with the surging population–-leaving residents like Ndira little choice but to drink water they know is making their families sick. Kirui, a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya, writes on gender, climate change, access to clean water, food security, culture, conflict, politics, and global development. See his portfolio here https://muckrack.com/dominic-kirui and Twitter: @Domie_Kirui.

Dominic Kirui, a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya, writes on gender, climate change, access to clean water, food security, culture, conflict, politics, and global development. See his portfolio here https://muckrack.com/dominic-kirui and Twitter: @Domie_Kirui.

In Zimbabwe, COVID-19 Vaccine Mistrust Stokes HPV Vaccination Fears  By Farai Mutsaka, March 24, 2022
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sther Sambiri, left, stands with fellow vaccine advocates outside the Nyanga, Zimbabwe, district government office on Dec. 16, 2021. Image: Farai Mutsaka

Esther Sambiri, left, stands with fellow vaccine advocates outside the Nyanga, Zimbabwe, district government office on Dec. 16, 2021. Image: Farai Mutsaka

  • As Zimbabwe gradually returns to the normal school calendar, health authorities are looking to scale up HPV vaccination again. But they face a new challenge: creeping mistrust in vaccines caused by misinformation spread on social media. Esther Sambiri, 16, a volunteer health communicator in the eastern district of Nyanga, has made it her mission to dispel such rumors. While her peers spend their free time hanging out with friends, she’s going door-to-door talking about HPV vaccination.

Farai Mutsaka is a Harare, Zimbabwe-based journalist.

Strapped for Time and Resources: Fighting Stroke in Rural South Africa  By Elsabé Brits, February 3, 2022
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Sunrise in the Transkei region in Eastern Cape Province, one of the poorest and most rural of South Africa’s 9 provinces.

Sunrise in the Transkei region in Eastern Cape Province, one of the poorest and most rural of South Africa’s 9 provinces, May 2012. Image: Susan Winters Cook/Getty

  • With a stroke, minutes can mean the difference between death and life—and the odds are stacked against survival for many people who live in rural South Africa, where ambulances, stroke specialists, diagnostic tools, and treatments are all scarce.

Elsabé Brits is a freelance science writer from South Africa.

 

How You Can Contribute

Interested in supporting GHN’s Local Reporting Initiative? Please visit here

If you’re a journalist based outside the US and you’d like to be considered for this project—or you know a great journalist or an intriguing story idea we should consider, let us know!

 

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Esther Sambiri, 16, a volunteer health communicator, advocates for the HPV vaccine in the eastern district of Nyanga, Zimbabwe. Dec. 16, 2021. Image: Farai Mutsaka