Vera esta pagina en Espanol
Vera esta pagina en Espanol

The Human Right to Water and Sanitation

Hesperian has long recognized safe water and sanitation as cornerstones to health and human dignity. Today we join the global water justice movement in celebrating a major victory: the United Nations General Assembly vote to recognize the human right to water and sanitation. 124 countries voted in favor of the resolution, while 41 voiced their opposition by abstaining, including the US, UK and Canada.

As a result of this historic resolution, the human right to “safe, clean, drinking water and sanitation” is now formally recognized in international law, and is no longer omitted from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Hesperian has written about how people have struggled corporate interests and even their own governments to ensure safe and sufficient water as a fundamental right here, here, and here.

In addition, Hesperian’s groundbreaking A Community Guide to Environmental Health, published in 2008, is a practical and empowering resource that clearly makes the connections between our health and the health of our environment, with water and sanitation identified as core issues (the book is available for free download here).

Today we celebrate, but we also know that this is just the first step in making sure that safe water and sanitation reach the billions that live without it.

The urgency of realizing that goal is no where better expressed than in the moving speech given by Pablo Solón Romero, Ambassador of Bolivia to the United Nations, in his effort to convince the governments represented in the United Nations to vote in favor of this historic resolution.

“The Human Right to Water and Sanitation”

New York, July 28, 2010

Mr. President,

Allow me to begin the presentation of this Resolution by recalling that human beings are essentially water. Around two thirds of our organism is comprised of water. Some 75 percent of our brain is made up of water, and water is the principal vehicle for the electrochemical transmissions of our body.

Our blood flows like a network of rivers in our body. Blood helps transport nutrients and energy to our organism. Water also carries from our cells waste products for excretion. Water helps to regulate the temperature of our body.

The loss of 20% of body water can cause death. It is possible to survive for various weeks without food, but it is not possible to survive more than a few days without water. Water is life.

That is why, today, we present this historic resolution for the consideration of the plenary of the General Assembly on behalf of the co-sponsoring countries of: Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, The Plurinational State of Bolivia, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Fiji, Georgia, Guinea, Haiti, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Paraguay, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, The Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Vanuatu, The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Yemen.

The right to health was originally recognized in 1946 by the World Health Organization. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declared, among others, “the right to life,” “the right to education,” and “the right to work.” In 1966 these were furthered in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights with the recognition of “the right to social security,” and “the right to an adequate standard of living,” including adequate food, clothing and adequate shelter.

However, the human right to water has continued to fail be fully recognized, despite clear references in various international legal instruments such as: the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This is why we, the co-sponsors, present this resolution in order that we now recognize the human right to water and sanitation, at a time when illness caused by lack of drinking water and sanitation causes more deaths than does war.

Every year, 3 and a half million people die of waterborne illness.

Diarrhea is the second largest cause of death among children under five. The lack of access to potable water kills more children than AIDS, malaria and smallpox combined.

Worldwide, approximately one in eight people lack potable water.

In just one day, more than 200 million hours of women’s time is consumed by collecting and transporting water for domestic use.

The situation of lack of sanitation is far worse, for it affects 2.6 billion people, or 40% of the global population.

According to the report on sanitation by the Independent expert, “Sanitation, more than many other human rights issue, evokes the concept of human dignity; consider the vulnerability and shame that so many people experience every day when, again, they are forced to defecate in the open, in a bucket or a plastic bag. It is the indignity of this situation that causes the embarrassment.”

The vast majority of illnesses around the world are caused by fecal matter. It is estimated that sanitation could reduce child death due to diarrhea by more than one third.

On any given day, half of the hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from illnesses associated with lack of access to safe water and lack of sanitation.

Mr. President,

Human rights were not born as fully developed concepts, but are built on reality and experience. For example, the human rights to education and work included in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights were constructed and specified over time, with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other international legal instruments such as the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The same will occur with the human right to water and sanitation.

That is why we emphasize and encourage in the third operative paragraph of this resolution that the independent expert continue working on all aspects of her mandate and present to the General Assembly “the principal challenges related to the realization of the human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation and their impact on the achievement of Millennium Development Goals.”

The Summit on the Millennium Development Goals is approaching, and it is necessary to give a clear signal to the world that drinking-water and sanitation are a human right, and that we will do everything possible to reach this goal, which we have only 5 more years to achieve.

That is why we are convinced of the importance of the second operative paragraph of this resolution, which “Calls upon States and international organizations to provide financial resources, capacity-building and technology transfer, through international assistance and cooperation, in particular to developing countries, in order to scale up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.

All resolutions contain a passage that we can point to as the heart of the matter, and the heart of this resolution is in its first operative paragraph. Throughout many informal consultations, we have striven to accommodate the different concerns of the Member States, leaving aside issues that do not pertain to this resolution and always seeking balance, but without loosing the essence of the resolution.

The right to drinking water and sanitation is a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life.

Drinking water and sanitation are not only elements or principal components of other rights such as “the right to an adequate standard of living.” The right to drinking water and sanitation are independent rights that should be recognized as such. It is not sufficient to urge States to comply with their human rights obligations relative to access to drinking water and sanitation. Instead, it is necessary to call on states to promote and protect the human right to drinking water and sanitation.

Mr. President,

In our effort to seek transparency and understanding without losing perspective on the essence of this resolution, in the name of the cosponsors we would like to propose an oral amendment to the first operative paragraph of the resolution that would replace the word “declares” with the word “recognizes.”

Mr. President,

Before moving to the consideration of this resolution, I would like to ask all delegations to bear in mind the fact that, according to the 2009 report of the World Health Organization and UNICEF entitled “Diarrhoea: Why children are still dying and what can be done,” 24,000 children die in developing countries every day from preventable causes like diarrhea contracted from unclean water. That is one child death every three and a half seconds.

One, two, three…

As my people say, “Now is the time.”

Thank you very much.

Health Guides for RPCVs Working with Refugees

A growing fear of deportation is preventing many refugees and immigrants in the US from seeking healthcare and other services, making these materials more important than ever. To address this problem, the US Gratis initiative is sending free health guides in English and Spanish to organizations that support refugee and immigrant communities. 

Read More

Global Gag Rule denies women’s right to health

Shortly after taking office, the Trump administration reinstated the Global Gag Rule, designed to cut US funding to any organization that provides abortion services. This expanded version is more disastrous for global health than any prior iteration. Not only does it cut funding to organizations for abortions, it slashes all US government funding - close to $9 billion - to organizations that offer a range of non-abortion related health services if they also provide, refer, or even just counsel about abortion.

Read More

Hesperian wins award to support reproductive health for Rohingya refugees

Close to 1 million Rohingya people have been forced from their homes in Myanmar in a tragic ethnic genocide. The Rohingya are a minority Muslim population in a majority-Buddhist country and have suffered execution, rape, and other unthinkable cruelties as they have been driven into exile to Bangladesh, where overwhelming needs for food security, sanitation, and basic healthcare sideline reproductive health needs.

Read More

We couldn’t do it without our partners

In September, Hesperian was honored to host our partner Julie Cliff, a dedicated physician and teacher in Mozambique. Dr. Cliff discussed her work in Mozambique; her research on konzo, a deadly disease caused by eating cassava; and her work as a translator and reviewer for Hesperian. Watch the video of her visit to Hesperian here.

Read More

Teaching Them to Fish

After years of Medical Mission work, I found myself asking “What do they do when we are gone?” Fortunately I stumbled upon the Hesperian book Where There is No Doctor. I was so inspired by the concept of allowing the villagers to learn to manage their own health. So, I started a nonprofit organization whose primary purpose was to form a community health program.

Read More

See you in Atlanta!

Join Hesperian at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting, November 4th through November 8th in Atlanta. Meet our staff and browse our books at Booth #1301 in the Exhibit Hall, and sit in on panels and workshops presented by Hesperian staff to learn about our work and upcoming projects.

Read More

Working with flood victims? We can help.

This summer we have seen devastating floods around the world, in record numbers. Nearly 41 million people have been affected by flooding since June, in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. The immediate destruction of these floods have already caused the death of thousands of people from injury, drowning and electrocution.

Read More

Join Hesperian for a conversation with Dr. Julie Cliff

Please join Hesperian and Dr. Julie Cliff for a wide-ranging conversation about health in Mozambique on Wednesday, September 27th at 6:30pm. Dr.Cliff has lived and worked in Mozambique for over 40 years, leading the epidemiology department at the Ministry of Health and the infectious diseases unit at Maputo Central Hospital, Mozambique's primary teaching hospital.

Read More

Read, teach, repeat

Tomorrow's Stars provides scholarships, libraries, and other support for students in Elmina, Ghana who face significant barriers to completing their education. To augment classroom learning with lessons on life skills, volunteer Sue Ron Gonzalez helped form a girls club in the rural farming village Abrem Essiam. After searching for practical and empowering information to share with the girls, she finally found Health Actions for Women at a gathering in San Francisco with Sarah Shannon, Hesperian's Executive Director.

Read More

Four years later

Four years ago the world watched as 1,134 people lost their lives in the deadly Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh. In the wake of the disaster, 200 brand name clothing retailers responded to public pressure by signing on to the more effective Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the less effective Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. Both agreements bound the participating retailers to fund safety inspections and improvements at the Bangladeshi factories that supply them with product.

Read More

Your suitcase isn’t ready til you’ve packed these

The influence of policies created by the United States and Canada is strongly felt in Honduras, magnifying poverty, inequality, insecurity, and violence in the country. In response to this interference, organizations from the US and Canada have formed the Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN) to support Honduran activists and community leaders in their commitment to further social justice.

Read More

Training programs use Where There Is No Doctor

We receive stories from people around the world who use Where There Is No Doctor and Hesperian's other titles in their training and primary health care programs. Health workers appreciate the books' approach to sensitive or "taboo" issues, the clearly-written information their patients or trainees can understand, and the adaptable, practical solutions to a variety of health problems.

Read More

What Filipino Women Want

Information on women's health, and especially family planning, can be difficult to find in the Philippines due to governmental and religious opposition. But access will soon become easier when Hesperian Health Guides releases Where Women Have No Doctor in Filipino on the HealthWiki. Together with our Philippine partner Likhaan, this edition is being updated to reflect current information on a range of women's health issues and produced for online viewing.

Read More

War Kills in More Ways than One

The war in Yemen that has already killed thousands through bombing and starvation is now killing thousands more with one of the worst cholera outbreaks on record, over 300,000 reported cases. South Sudan, already struggling with fighting among armed factions and the threat of famine is now also facing a cholera outbreak.

Read More

Shining a light on women’s health

Recently, we lost Simone Veil, a Holocaust survivor who became a French politician and advocate for women's health. Veil's message was that women forced into a corner by laws and social pressures are left with dangerous health choices, neglecting their safety or trusting the wrong people, and ultimately risking their lives.

Read More

When a bug bite isn’t just a bug bite

After last year's frightening Zika outbreak, it comes as welcome news that reports of new cases have slowed down in areas of Brazil and the Caribbean. While cases in Florida also seem to be reducing, the CDC recently reported a larger breadth of the Zika-carrying mosquito in the south than previously known.

Read More

Preparing students for success

Every year a new group of nursing students from the Boston College Connell School of Nursing Global Health Initiative travel to Central America equipped with the clinical knowledge they learned from their textbooks and a copy of Donde no hay doctor (Spanish edition of Where There Is No Doctor). Ronna E. Krozy, EdD, RN, who has led the program since 1991, first to Ecuador and since 2005 to Nicaragua, has found Where There Is No Doctor to be the most important resource her students have.

Read More

Health promoters spread health and fight fear

Since the early 2000s, the Health Initiative of the Americas (a program of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health) has organized a yearly conference to bring together health promoters from the US and Mexico. At this year's conference Dr. America Bracho of Latino Health Access delivered a keynote that energized participants, reaffirming how critical it is for community members to build upon their unique strengths, especially through promotora programs.

Read More

A Peace Corps Volunteer gives back

Hesperian books have been used by Peace Corps volunteers to improve health in their host communities for decades. Gregory MacCrone, an RPCV who served in Liberia and Thailand, shares his story of how he used Where There Is No Doctor to help a local girl.

Read More

Mourn for the dead, fight for the living

April 28th is Workers' Memorial Day, when we honor and remember those who have lost their lives at and because of their work. This year's theme "Strong Laws, Safe Work" highlights the importance of fighting for workers' right to health and safety, especially now, as workplace protections are increasingly threatened in the US and worldwide.

Read More

You can take action to protect the environment

The latest Environmental Protection Agency budget details the new administration's plan to lay off 25% of EPA employees and to dismantle 56 programs, including pesticide safety and control of water runoff. It also eliminates restrictions designed to limit children's exposure to lead and cuts funding for research on climate change and water quality

Read More

We couldn’t do it without our volunteers

Hesperian depends on the labor of an energetic team of volunteers, who devote thousands of hours to every aspect of our work, from packing books to researching to fundraising. Our digital projects volunteers make building our HealthWiki possible: they proofread, code, design, manipulate images, translate and program. Their skills and time enable people to access Hesperian materials everywhere on tablets, cell phones, and other mobile devices.

Read More

The future of public health is in your hands

With the release of its new budget, the White House has set public health squarely in its crosshairs. The proposed plan would slash funding for agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the CDC by billions of dollars and eliminate lifesaving programs of the Office of Community Services.

Read More

School vouchers harm kids with and without disabilities

The confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education has again raised the controversial topic of school vouchers. A strong argument against the voucher system is that private schools are not required to meet the same level of regulation as public schools. This creates serious problems for students with disabilities, as Senators Maggie Hassan and Tim Kaine brought up at DeVos' confirmation hearing. 

Read More

Hesperian teams up with disability services organizations to build capacity

Through a partnership with the Disability Communications Fund, Hesperian recently completed a distance-learning program with 7 community-based organizations serving people with disabilities throughout California. The pilot program focused on enhancing each organization’s capacity to better connect with hard to reach families through the creation of effective outreach materials.

Read More

NASA has found 7 Earth-like planets, but have we given up on ours?

The new US administration is working to take away protections to water and air quality and impose new policies that will harm our environment. Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline -- threatening the water supply on Native American lands -- is near completion after President Trump rebooted plans put on hold by the previous administration. 

Read More

Hesperian’s commitment to health & social justice

Given the outcome of the recent US elections and the threat to people’s health and rights, Hesperian recommits itself over the next years to strengthen and support US movements for health and social justice. Healthy people in thriving, equitable communities – it’s not just a description of the world we work to create, it also describes the movements we must build to achieve it. We look forward to joining you in that struggle.

Read More

Heart disease doesn’t have to be the number one killer

Heart diseases kill more of the world's people than anything else. Strikingly, three quarters of those deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. With the right resources and support, including regular primary health care, the risk factors for cardiovascular disease could be detected, people treated, and lives extended instead of being cut tragically short. Unfortunately, without access to regular, affordable health care, illness is caught too late, after the disease has progressed and treatment is not available or is too expensive. 

Read More

Sharing critical information worldwide

As women in the US and around the world are orgnaizing to protect their rights, they can access critical health information, including family planning, with Hesperian resources. Readership of reproductive health information in the US and Mexico has reached nearly five million, as regressive political climates have made it more vital than ever for women to find respectful, trustworthy information about their health.

Read More

Police Violence Is a Public Health Issue

Brutality and shootings by police are now getting more attention than ever, but police violence has been all too common for too long. Coverage in social media and even the mainstream press has greatly expanded, particularly for typically marginalized communities such as transgender people and people of color, as offenses are increasingly filmed or photographed, shared, and protested, often through the organizing of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Read More

Fighting Climate Change on All Fronts

The new Timelapse feature on Google Earth lets you view the physical changes of the last 3 decades anywhere on the globe. Seeing how your neighborhood or city has developed since 1984 is fun, but the view becomes much more serious when you look at glaciers, or watch the northern coast of Asia - the pure whiteness of 1984 has faded to brown by 2016.

Read More

On the ground in Peten, Guatemala

Project coordinator of the NEW Where There is No Doctor, Paula Worby, recently spent several weeks in Peten, Guatemala with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Paula worked with the UNHCR and Guatemalan organizations that are offering humanitarian aid to Central American migrants and asylum seekers heading northward.

Read More

Toward a healthy and peaceful 2017

Hesperian accomplished a lot in 2016, but we know that there is so much more to do in 2017. Together, we can work to achieve health and justice. Look back at all the ways Hesperian contributed to Health for All in 2016, and then take a peek at the year ahead. 

Read More

Family planning info shouldn’t be kept a secret

For many women and girls around the world, reliable and accurate family planning and reproductive health information is extremely difficult to find. Harsh laws and restrictions prevent women from even asking for the resources they need. Philippine websites that provide reproductive health materials are regularly hacked and taken down. Several Latin American countries have made it illegal to publicly provide basic family planning content.

Read More

A Hesperian Book is a Gift of Health

Hesperian is thrilled to partner with the African Library Project to provide Where There Is No Doctor and other Hesperian books to community and school libraries in Africa, especially in rural areas where health information is scarce. With the support of donors, we have already distributed Hesperian books to 220 community libraries in Malawi, Sierra Leone and Ghana. 

Read More

Helping Children Live with HIV: A Collaborative Effort

Each AIDS day, we remember and mourn those we have lost, while renewing our commitment to empower and care for the living. We are especially thinking about young children, who depend on others to advocate for them -- people who love them and understand the importance for everyone’s future of considering all our children’s needs while they are young. This advocacy is urgently needed for children affected by HIV.

Read More

Fighting Against Asbestos

52 countries have banned the use of asbestos because it causes cancer and is a danger to public health. Unfortunately, the United States isn’t among them and has yet to completely ban asbestos. Last year’s Frank R. Lautenberg Act, signed by President Obama, took baby steps toward protecting Americans from some toxic substances, including asbestos.

Read More

America Bracho Interviewed on KGNU’s Metro – Wellness Wednesdays

Listen to this captivating interview with America Bracho, Executive Director of Latino Health Access and author of Recruiting the Heart, Training the Brain. Dr. Bracho discusses the value of community health workers with host Elzabieta Kosmicki on the 11/16/16 edition of KGNU’s Metro - Wellness Wednesdays. 

Read More

Babies and breastfeeding: 13 and counting

Too often, mothers and children in Somalia die in childbirth and infancy from lack of access to the prevention and treatment tools that would give them a chance at survival. Regular prenatal care, trained birth attendants, clean water and medical instruments, and availability of medicines are just some of the conditions needed for a safe delivery and healthy baby.

Read More

Strategies for a cleaner environment

China creates much of the world's air pollution which, according to the World Health Organization, caused more than 1 million deaths in just one year. Nearly 40% of China's air pollutants come from coal burned in factories, power plants, and homes all over the country. China uses almost as much coal as every other country in the world combined.

Read More

Refugees right to health

The conflict in Syria is "a very different style of warfare, violating numerous international mandates. The injuries are horrific." Medical workers and clinics have become military targets, with over 1,000 health workers killed, facilities destroyed, and remaining centers working without basic equipment or even electricity.

Read More

Join Hesperian at APHA’s 144th Annual Meeting in Denver

Join Hesperian at the American Public Health Association's 144th annual meeting, October 30th through November 2nd in Denver. Visit with our staff and browse our books at booth #906 in the Exhibit Hall, and attend our presentations and events. We are offering free shipping on all purchases so you won't have to carry all those books home in your suitcase!

Read More

Take a look our unsung field-testing heroes

We're excited to share our new interactive map to highlight our partners' experiences field testing Health Actions for Women. Its always important and often controversial women's health content was tested by community groups in 23 countries!

Read More

Teens fight ‘climate melancholia’

The term 'climate melancholia' has been coined to describe a state of heightened despair about climate change and the future, but many youth leaders are fighting back against this apathy by leading powerful climate action campaigns.

Read More

A universal language for birth

The Childbirth Picture Book is a teaching tool that midwives and community health workers can use to explain pregnancy and birth to people in the US and around the world. This resource provides a simple and complete guide to the basics of conception, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.

Read More

Brazil’s Olympics: Games without winners?

The Olympics are often a celebration of international unity and collaboration through sports, but this summer's games in Rio face more challenges in that arena than in most years. As in other host cities, the construction of Olympic villages and venues has displaced many people, particularly those living in Rio's favelas.

Read More

Where There Is No Doctor — now in Haitian Kreyol

In Haiti, low pay and life-threatening working conditions have led to a doctors' strike, which has been going on for the past 3 months amidst outbreaks of cholera and Zika. Poor people in Haiti already had very limited possibilities for healthcare, and the strike has exacerbated their lack of access to resources and treatment.

Read More

Don’t let Amazon fool you!

Amazon, with 65% of US book sales, dominates the book market. By driving out competition with ultra-low prices, they hurt bookstores and small publishers alike. But the machines that control the prices on Amazon sometimes screw up, like they have this week. Now you can take advantage of their error AND help us fight back. 

Read More

A Book for Midwives — now in French

Every day in 2015, 830 women died from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Nearly all these preventable deaths occurred in low-resource settings, with particularly high rates in West and Central Africa, home to just 10% of the world's population, but 30% of all maternal deaths. 54% of West and Central African women give birth without the help of a skilled health worker. Increasing the number of trained midwives could prevent thousands of deaths. 

Read More

Remembering Freedom Summer in an Election Year

It's in the news almost every day: people are protesting, being beaten, and being arrested in their attempts to stand up against racism, hatred and calls to violence. Is it an anti-Trump rally in 2016 or a voting rights rally in 1966? 

Read More

Pollution kills, but we can fight back

The World Health Organization reports that nearly a quarter of all deaths in the world -- about 12.6 million people a year -- are caused by environmental problems such as poor sanitation and air pollution. These preventable and unnecessary deaths could be eliminated by global action to redirect resources to improve health and save lives.

Read More

We can prevent obstetric fistula

Obstetric fistula is a devastating condition that happens when a woman is in labor for too long, and pressure from her baby's head tears a hole in the vagina, causing her to leak urine or feces constantly. Maybe she's too young to deliver, her body is too small, her pelvis is not yet fully formed. Maybe she has diabetes, a malformed pelvis, or other problems that don't allow a normal, healthy delivery.

Read More

Being a mother can be difficult

Being a mother can be difficult, especially when your options are limited by poverty and little access to health care. Sadly, mothers worldwide confront these obstacles daily. Hesperian is committed to helping women keep their families and themselves healthier by empowering them with practical, easy-to-understand and lifesaving health information.

Read More

From Rana Plaza to May Day

April 24 marked the 3rd anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Savar, Bangladesh. This completely preventable disaster claimed the lives of 1,134 garment workers and left thousands injured. While some long-delayed compensation to workers and their families was finally distributed from US and European brands producing clothing in Bangladesh, the most necessary compensation has not been forthcoming: a change in the way the global garment companies contract to make the clothing we all wear.

Read More

Bringing the mining industry above ground

Around the globe, extractive industries encroach on indigenous land and pollute rivers and lakes, harming the health of workers, families, and communities. Against the odds, a global movement of people continues to fight back, even when stripped of their land and resources by multinational companies.

Read More

Meet the health workers transforming Santa Ana

In 1993, Dr. America Bracho set out with a radical idea: to transform the health of the Latino community in Santa Ana, California. Using the principles outlined in Hesperian's classic Helping Health Workers Learn, America set out to create a vibrant network of health promotores and a groundbreaking model for community health.

Read More

What will it take to end gender inequality?

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, director of UN Women, is demanding that governments stop stalling and make real efforts to achieve the UN's 5th Sustainable Development Goal: to end gender inequality and empower all women and girls. Joining with others at the 2016 Commission on the Status of Women, Phumzile called for sweeping reforms to end the discrimination, poverty, and lack of autonomy that limit the possibilities for too many women.

Read More

What happens when patients become leaders on the health team?

Watch America Bracho, President of Latino Health Access and author of Hesperian's newest title, Recruiting the Heart, Training the Brain explain the improvements that can be won through community-centered care.

Read More

Women with disabilities bust myths to take charge of their health

Women with disabilities face multiple barriers to good health due to misconceptions about their health needs and a lack of relevant health information. To help address these issues, Hesperian partnered with women with disabilities in 42 countries to create A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities to provide a clear, humanizing, and practical resource that dispels myths surrounding the needs of disabled women. 

Read More

Join Hesperian for a night of live music and good food!

Please join Hesperian Health Guides and RiseUp Ghana on Thursday, March 24th, for a night of music, dancing, and fun. Your donation will support RiseUp Ghana's efforts to build a clinic in Wli Todzi, a remote village in Ghana, and Hesperian's translations of Where There Is No Doctor.

Read More

Obstetric fistula can ruin a woman’s life

Women suffering from fistula become outcasts: every year thousands of women are abandoned, divorced, ostracized, and stigmatized as cursed. But women with fistula aren’t cursed. They are just too young, too far from hospitals, or too small or malnourished to have a healthy labor.

Read More

Put these powerful health tools in people’s hands

Every day, Hesperian receives requests from around the world for free books from people who can’t afford to buy them. From urban centers where social and economic barriers make health care inaccessible, to refugee camps where health information is scarce, and to rural villages where the nearest doctor or hospital may be hundreds of miles away. But everyone requesting a Hesperian book shares the same hope – to improve life and health for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Read More

Nuevos recursos sobre el Zika en español y pronto, en otros idiomas

El virus Zika, transmitido por zancudos, ha alcanzado proporciones epidémicas en Brasil y está trasladándose rápidamente hacia el norte a través de centroamérica y el caribe. La Organización Mundial de la Salud ha afirmado que el Zika llegará a casi todos los países en nuestro hemisferio, excepto por las áreas más frías de Canadá y Chile.

Read More

Zika Fact Sheets launched in five languages

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Zika virus epidemic a "public health emergency of international concern," and Hesperian is working to develop emergency health materials in multiple languages to reach the people who need them most.

Read More

“Practical, respective resources” for workers to achieve safety at work

“People want to give us clothes, and that is nice, but your books give us knowledge which is true power.” Those are the sentiments of Samuel Watulatsu about Hesperian’s publications on community health and prevention. He’s the founder of the Foundation for Development of Needy Communities in Mbale, Uganda. Watulatsu’s endorsement appears on a new Hesperian publication: Workers’ Guide to Health and Safety.

Read More

A Helping Handbook

As part of a third-year Global Health course, Katharina Gref researched and wrote a village health worker guide about obstetric fistula, a serious medical condition marked by tearing and tissue damage that can happen during prolonged, obstructed labour. She chose to focus her research on Nigeria, a country with some of the world’s highest rates of the condition.

Read More

Dr. King is still right: Our needs are labor’s needs

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Of all forms of discrimination and inequalities, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman." Fighting for economic, racial, or reproductive justice is made all the more challenging when faced with the triple threat of increased illness, inadequate resources to find care, and discrimination in care. People with more resources are better equipped to fend off health problems, while poor people and historically marginalized groups are stuck with what they’ve got. 

Read More

Care for Where There Is No Justice: The modern history of street medics and how they support social movements

Street medic groups have been on the front line of many groundbreaking movements, from the Civil Rights and New Left movements, to modern day movements such as Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring. Perhaps more importantly, however, street medics have played a role addressing root causes of ill health and supporting the movements which transform dynamics of power, privilege, and access.

Read More

Take a sneak peak at our 2016 plans!

Thanks to your support, we accomplished more than we ever imagined this year. We released 2 major new books, printed an updated edition of Where There Is No Doctor, and produced and published 2 new French editions.

Read More

Since 1992 Laura and Michael have supported us — here’s why

Laura Turiano and Michael Terry, longtime supporters, have chosen to donate to Hesperian ever since they witnessed firsthand how Hesperian's materials save lives and empower people.

Read More

New Hesperian Health Guides For Africa

Millions of people die every year of the most preventable diseases and common illnesses. This horrible reality is due to the lack of basic medical information available worldwide. In many parts of the world, health resources are only as good as the outdated books and government flyers that circulate through the community and more likely it’s through word of mouth that people are gathering medical information.

Read More

Build a better world with books — now 20% off

This holiday season, don't mourn -- organize! To help heal whatever ails you and your community, every book in our bookstore is now 20% off! 

Read More

Health Actions for Women co-author talks with La Raza Chronicles

Co-author Kathleen Vickery discusses Health Actions for Women's development and shares stories and activities from the book. 

Read More

Updated “Where There Is No Doctor” Reflects 40 Years of Care

Over 40 years ago, the “first edition” of Donde No Hay Doctor was produced on index cards using a typewriter. All the illustrations were drawn by hand, and typos were corrected in pencil.

Since then, Donde No Hay Doctor has been translated into English, Portuguese, Chinese, and Arabic -- over 80 languages altogether, and is considered the most widely used health manual in the world.

Read More

From Guatemala to Yemen, Hesperian reaches millions

 A community health worker in war-torn Yemen, grandparents of HIV positive children in South Africa, members of an earthquake-devastated community in Nepal, a young woman searching on her phone for trustworthy information about pregnancy in Guatemala. 

What do they all have in common?

Read More

This world AIDS day, let’s help children grieve, survive, and thrive.

It may seem strange on World AIDS Day to focus on the dead when we can feel the gathering momentum of greater access to treatment for HIV. But we have recently experienced the benefits of taking time to reflect and mourn the passing of loved ones right here at Hesperian.

Read More

To show our thanks, enjoy 20% off ’til Sunday

Every day, Hesperian receives letters from all over the world requesting copies of our materials. Village health workers, teachers, community members, and medical practitioners from places as far away as Nigeria, Ghana, El Salvador, and Brazil send letters, often hand-written, that tell the story of their communities -- and their need for Hesperian books.

Read More

Celebrate World Toilet Day! Time to flush poor sanitation

Here in North America it sounds like the punchline to a bad joke, but World Toilet Day is real. Over 2.4 billion people around the world lack toilets, which means they lack access to good sanitation which helps them avoid disease in their homes, their communities and their water systems.

Read More

“Workers’ Guide” co-author interviewed on La Raza Chronicles

Check out Workers’ Guide to Health and Safety co-author Miriam Lara-Meloy’s interview with Julieta Kusnir on KPFA’s La Raza Chronicles.

Read More

Candy isn’t the only thing rotting teeth

For the 85 million Americans without dental insurance, tooth pain doesn't start after Halloween. Although some reforms have increased access, many Americans can't afford dental services: As many as 1 in 3 low-income children experience tooth decay, and 1 in 4 Medicare beneficiaries are missing all of their natural teeth.

Read More

Visit us at APHA in Chicago!

Join Hesperian at the American Public Health Association's 143rd annual meeting, October 31 through November 4 in Chicago. We’d love to talk to you while you’re in town, come visit with our staff and browse our books at booth #1007 in the Exhibit Hall.

Read More

Health info crosses borders to aid refugees in Jordan

With border closings, harsh travel restrictions, and high fences, Hesperian health information can travel more freely than many refugees. 

For decades, Hesperian’s materials have been used in emergency settings to help vulnerable groups. Today, nearly 60 million people are displaced around the globe -- 1 out of every 122 worldwide -- and the number is growing as the Syrian refugee crisis intensifies.

Read More

Liberian women use film to confront gender-based violence

During Liberia’s 14-year civil war, soldiers used sexual violence as a weapon: thousands of women and girls suffered sexual assault as a weapon of war. After the war ended, violence against women continued, and the need to heal from trauma remained.

Read More

Sign the petition: Bottled water drains public resources

In Hesperian’s home state of California, we’re experiencing our worst drought in history. But that hasn’t stopped Nestle from selling bottled water taken from public lands. In the San Bernadino National Forest, Nestle’s water permit expired 25 years ago! But considering that Nestle continues to violate the international agreements on the marketing of breast milk substitutes, perhaps it’s not surprising.

Read More

Help send “Where There Is No Doctor” to refugees

The plight of refugees is a major humanitarian crisis and a public health emergency. They are vulnerable to serious health risks and illnesses, and have very limited access to health care. In response, Hesperian is preparing to ship Where There is No Doctor to the frontlines of the crisis in collaboration with the Syrian American Medical Society

Read More

Yemeni women’s health struggles in the face of war

In the small town of Tarim, Yemen, health worker Um Amina used her role at a small clinic not just to treat local women, but give them the knowledge to improve their own health using an Arabic translation of Where There Is No Doctor.

Read More

Introducing the Jambi Hausi clinic

Jambi Huasi does more than provide affordable, accessible health care for the Quechua community. It offers a place for people to receive modern and traditional medicine together, in an atmosphere where their beliefs and culture are respected. 

Read More

Grilling burgers and honoring workers

September 03, 2015

Our new video highlighting Workers’ Guide to Health and Safety includes “Made in” labels to show the many places where our goods are produced. But, it turns out, a “Made in” label only tells the last chapter of a much longer story.

Read More

New Swahili content added to HealthWiki – global users top 7 million

We're thrilled to expand our popular HealthWiki to include new entries in Swahili focusing on water and sanitation to better help people address the root cause of many illnesses: lack of clean water.

Read More

Bridging the Healthcare Divide: 6th Annual Midwife Training

August 20, 2015

Each year, a group of approximately 30 midwives gather in Puerto Escondido, a small coastal town in Oaxaca, Mexico. These parteras come from all over the state of Oaxaca to take part in a 4-day training, honing their skills and gathering new information about safe birth techniques, management of emergencies during birth, and how to ensure that newborns stay healthy. 

Read More

Jungle Mamas: Achuar women promote health and leadership

August 06, 2015

In 2007, Pachamama Alliance, a group working with Achuar people in the Amazon, launched the Jungle Mamas program to support the health and rights of indigenous women. 

Read More

Double Your Impact: We’ve Got a Matching $35,000 Challenge!

Hesperian has been offered a $35,000 matching gift to expand our reach, but we need YOU to join us! Learn what we can do with your help and support. Together we can make a significant impact. 

Read More

Need Illustrations of Workers or Workplaces? Visit Hesperian’s Image Library

If you’re creating materials and presentations, there’s no need to start from scratch. Illustrations from the Workers' Guide to Health and Safety are now available via Hesperian Images, our online library featuring more than 12,000 illustrations that can be adapted and modified for non-commercial use.

Read More

“Sickness and Wealth” Documents How Access to Medical Care is Restricted Around the World

Powerful and accessible, Sickness and Wealth documents the pioneering work of activists and organizations committed to the radical notion that the right to health is not for sale. Thanks to print on demand, you can find this groundbreaking book in Hesperian's online bookstore.

Read More

View Resistencia: Documentary on Military Coup in Honduras

July 13, 2015

Jesse Freeston, co-director of Revolutionary Medicine, has created an important and timely new documentary. Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley follows three members of Honduras' landless farmers' movement as they take control of the plantation of the most powerful man in Honduras -- all in the midst of the first coup d'état in Central America in three decades.

Read More

In Support of Malala – And All Women & Girls Mobilizing for Change

This Sunday, July 12, is Malala Yousafzai's 18th birthday. It is also “Malala Day,” a designation granted by the United Nations in July 2013 -- nine months after Malala survived a brutal assault by members of the Taliban and went on to advocate for the right of girls to education in northwest Pakistan.

Read More

Hesperian Releases Two New Books in French

After much hard work and collaboration with our translation partners, we're proud to announce that the French editions of Helping Children Who are Deaf and Helping Children Who are Blind are now available for purchase.

Read More

Workers Guide to Health and Safety – A new book for May Day!

April 29, 2015

It took us more than a decade, but it is finally here! 

Today, May 1st, celebrated around the world as International Workers’ Day, we are thrilled to launch Hesperian’s newest and most ambitious title: Workers’ Guide to Health and Safety

As one of our partners humorously put it, “It is about time! We need this book.”

Read More

Nepal earthquake response: Share Nepali health information

April 26, 2015

We extend our heartfelt sorrow and solidarity to the people of Nepal as they begin to bury their dead after Saturday’s earthquake left thousands dead, hundreds of thousands homeless,  and many more completely cut off from contact by landslides. As civil society and governments struggle to provide search and rescue aid, food, medicine, and shelter, here are a few ways you can lend your support.

Read More

Hesperian partner Jagruti delivers affordable medicine to poor in Dhaward, India

April 27, 2015

The need for affordable generic drugs is especially urgent in rural communities – treatable communicable diseases like tuberculosis and malaria remain commonplace, and chronic diseases, such diabetes, are on the rise.  The Dharwad-Hubli  district of Southern India is no exception, as most households have one wage-earner working seasonally in agriculture, except for one exciting development--  Jagruti, a long-time translation partner of Hesperian Health Guides,  in coordination with Drug Action Forum—Karnataka has just launched the Dharwad Generic Drug House, which will bring low-cost generic drugs to the  municipality. Inspired by Alma Ata and the work of the People’s Health Movement, the Drug action forum was formed by rural doctors in Karnataka, who felt that “the cost and use of medicines was forcing several families to penury,” and that accessible medicines and primary health care are an essential human right.

Read More