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Labor rights activist murdered in Bangladesh

Hesperian is deeply saddened and outraged by the murder of Bangladeshi labor activist Aminul Islam.

Aminul was an organizer at the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) and a local leader for the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF). He fought tirelessly alongside workers, unions, and organizations from Bangladesh and around the world to raise poverty-level wages, improve safety in response to tragic factory fires, and promote fair and healthy work in Bangladesh.

We first connected with Aminul in 2003 while developing our book A Workers’ Guide to Health and Safety. BCWS field-tested and contributed to several sections on the hazards of garment work, sharing not only their own experience and knowledge as organizers but also the comments, feedback, ideas, and suggestions of their Bangladeshi coworkers.

Aminul’s murder comes at a time of great progress and success for the workers’ movement in Bangladesh. He was fatally silenced by those who want to continue profiting from the poverty and ill health of workers in Bangladesh, who want to instill fear among those fighting for their rights.  When our staff connected with Aminul after he had been released from being arrested on trumped-up charges and tortured a few years ago, they were struck by his impossibly-cheery, positive outlook and his incredible courage and strength. We have all lost an important colleague.

Hesperian joins the international community in demanding that Aminul’s death be promptly investigated and those responsible brought to justice. BCWS has asked us to urge the government of Bangladesh to take action by sending a letter to the Prime Minister.  Please take a moment to join this campaign

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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! 

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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. 

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Pollution is an even bigger killer than we thought

April 23, 2015

Most pollutants are insidious - we often can’t see, taste, or smell them, and often we don’t feel their effects on our bodies right away. Yet the World Health Organization estimates that pollution causes up to 25% of deaths and diseases in developing nations, with numbers reaching up to 35% in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Hesperian’s Sarah Shannon Receives Prestigious Social Justice Award

April 10, 2015

At Hesperian, we know that our Executive Director Sarah Shannon is a tireless advocate for social justice. It is reflected in her work and leadership every day, most recently as co-author of Health Actions for Women.

Her commitment to serve and support
people who have been impoverished and marginalized was recognized this week by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, which presented her with the Ruth Roemer Social Justice Leadership Award. (Read the full press release.)

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Planned Parenthood Global hosts NYC book launch for Health Actions for Women

March 06, 2015

It’s a project that has been years in the making; 19 years, if you trace back to the original moment of inspiration, which was sparked during a conversation between Dr. Melissa Smith and a group of midwives in Guatemala in 1996. Melissa was leading a workshop on safe motherhood and family planning, field testing material for Hesperian’s Where Women Have No Doctor. The midwives loved it -- but they wanted more.

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What do Paul Farmer, Rigoberta Menchú, and Cecile Richards have in common?

February 23, 2015

Everyone from Paul Farmer to Judy Norsigian, Cecile Richards to Ela Bhatt agree: if you care about the health and wellbeing of women and girls, you need Health Actions for Women. Have you ordered your copy?

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Hesperian releases highly anticipated new title: Health Actions for Women

February 19, 2015

“No other resource today provides such concrete tools to engage communities and empower women of all ages to build lasting change from the ground up. A triumph!” —Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Women’s health is more than medicine; the social barriers to good health for women and girls are difficult to discuss and resolve. Hesperian’s new title, Health Actions for Women: Practical Strategies to Mobilize for Change provides a wealth of accessible, engagingly illustrated activities, strategies, and stories that address the social obstacles and practices that prevent women and girls from enjoying healthy lives.

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Celebrating Jane Maxwell’s 50 years of health activism!

February 16, 2015

On February 6th, 2015, friends and colleagues from many communities gathered in appreciation of Jane Maxwell, who has had (and will continue to have) an incredible impact on the lives and health of so many people through her work and advocacy over 50 years. Colleagues from MIUSAWORLD, the AIDS Lifecycle ride to end AIDS, the Berkeley Free Clinic, Hesperian Health Guides, and many other communities thanked Jane for her enduring dedication, support, and friendship.

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Hesperian partner in Nepal featured on Global Motherhood blog

December 19, 2014

Even your creased, well-thumbed copy of Where There is No Doctor is no substitute for receiving attention from a compassionate and well-trained health care provider. In a recent piece on the Huffington Post’s Global Motherhood Blog , anthropologist Elisabeth Enslin describes how she used Where There Is No Doctor to advise her neighbors, who were reluctant to go to clinics after “they'd had their concerns dismissed, been sold expensive medicines or exams with dubious benefits, been chastised, misdiagnosed, misunderstood, inconvenienced, lost work time waiting for all-too-brief exams, been looked down on for their skin color, ethnic status, poverty, and/or gender.” Although she found that Where There is No Doctor provided “practical and thoughtful” solutions to many problems, she longed to be able to refer her Nepali advice-seekers to health services that would treat them with the respect and care they deserved.

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Peace Corps and Hesperian sign Memorandum of Understanding

December 03, 2014

Hesperian Health Guides and Peace Corps have made official what for over 40 years has been an unofficial, but very fruitful partnership, by signing a Memorandum of Understanding at Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington DC on November 24th.

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30 Years Later: We All Live In Bhopal

On December 2nd, 1984, near densely-crowded neighborhoods of Bhopal, India, a pesticide factory owned by Union Carbide (now Dow Chemical Company) leaked tons of poison gas into the air. With the factory’s warning system turned off and other safety systems broken, the community was not alerted in any way except by the toxic clouds that reached them in their homes and on the streets.  

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Invitation: Join Peace Corps and Hesperian in DC on November 24th

You are cordially invited to two events in celebration of the MOU signing and new partnership between

The Peace Corps and Hesperian Health Guides

For over 40 years, Peace Corps Volunteers have used Hesperian 
resources like Where There Is No Doctor in their work and with their 
host communities. Now, Hesperian Health Guides and the Peace Corps
are signing an MOU to collaborate in global public health efforts.

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Chiapas Health Workers improve maternal health with mHealth

November 14, 2014

Rural Chiapas might appear to be an unlikely place for mHealth initiatives to gain traction – with one person in four unable to read, and little cell phone reception or internet connectivity in the mountains, it would seem that accessing understandable information through mobile technology would be a challenge for health workers and patients alike. Yet the community health workers of Compañeros en Salud (CES) have found unexpected ways to make innovations in mobile health technologies work for them and strengthen their programs.   

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With these new Swahili health materials, we’re all winners!

The Swahili health materials contest we announced in August, cosponsored by Hesperian, our Tanzanian partner COBIHESA, and K4Health, generated an impressive response. We are excited to announce that 22 new health materials are now freely available for download on our Swahili Language Hub! These excellent new resources cover topics from cervical cancer to training midwives, and from non-communicable to sexually transmitted diseases. People sent creative entries in every imaginable form: videos, fliers, brochures, posters, comic books, and more!

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September 28: Day of action to save the lives of women and girls

In too many countries, women seeking post-abortion are denied care, imprisoned, or die unnecessarily from preventable medical complications. Access to safe post-abortion care is especially important for children, adolescents, and young adults, as 70% of hospitalizations for abortion are of women under the age of 20. Lack of post-abortion care is as deadly as it is widespread; worldwide, nearly half of the 21 million abortions that occur every year are unsafe, with 98% of unsafe abortions taking place in the developing world.  In Latin America, where 95% of abortions are unsafe, lack of proper post-abortion care is responsible for one out of every eight maternal deaths. Such a large death toll does not simply cut short millions of women’s lives, but denies families their mothers, partners, daughters, aunts, and sisters. 

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Finally: a worker-focused Accord for Bangladesh

The collapse of the garment factory in 2013 in Rana Plaza, Bangladesh killed 1,129 people, injured thousands more, and made visible the unsafe and unhealthy working conditions sewn into our clothing. The outpouring of anger and solidarity worldwide forced many of the brands sourcing garments in Bangladesh to pledge to invest in risk prevention and enforce improved labor standards.

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Helping Health Workers prevent the spread of Ebola

August 26, 2014

Health workers in West Africa have been among the hardest hit by the recent Ebola outbreak, risking their own health and safety to care for others during this devastating epidemic. Health workers in affected countries need our support to protect themselves and others; when safe and healthy, they are our best defense against the further spread of Ebola. Consider supporting the work of Friends of the Earth International and Last Mile Health, two organizations that are equipping health workers in Liberia with the equipment and training they need to stay safe and save lives. This most recent outbreak has shown that when we do not provide sufficient support, clinics shut down and people lose confidence in their medical systems.

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Until the Walls Come Down: Health Advocacy in Prison

August 15, 2014

Prisoner’s Justice Day was August 10 in Canada. Thirty years ago, Edward Nalon took his own life in a segregated unit at Millhaven Maximum Security Prison in Ontario. On the one-year anniversary of his death, others living in the prison went on hunger strike and held a memorial service, knowing the consequence for such disobedience would be solitary confinement.  Since then, every year incarcerated people and their allies internationally have continued to memorialize, grieve, and fight for those living on the inside.

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Call for flyers, posters, and booklets in Swahili on community health education

August 05, 2014

Submit your health materials in Swahili by August 30 and be entered to win a complete set of Hesperian Health Guides in English (including Where There Is No Doctor); a preventative health kit; or a blog piece featuring your health education work on Hesperian’s website (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prices, in the order listed). Submissions will be judged by COBIHESA and Hesperian Health Guides.

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Underserved and Overcharged: Why those who most need the Hepatitis C cure are least likely to get it

July 28, 2014

This Hepatitis Day, the 185 million people worldwide living with chronic Hepatitis C (HCV) and their loved ones ought to be celebrating a major medical accomplishment: the release of sofosbuvir, a new medication which cured 90% of HCV-infected patients in clinical trials. It is too soon to celebrate, however, as this life-saving drug remains financially out of reach for most of those affected. 

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Helping Children Live with HIV: A Community-Based Approach to Living Positively

July 17, 2014

Hesperian offers our deepest condolences to the family and friends of those lost in Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. We are deeply saddened by the loss of many outstanding members of the HIV/AIDS research community and civil society.

There are currently 3.34 million children living with HIV worldwide. Recent studies demonstrate that gaps in access to treatment are widening in countries with high rates of HIV infection, with only 34% of children in surveyed countries being given Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) medicines, as opposed to 68% of adults. The problem becomes even more complex when you consider the 70 million children who become caregivers for their families at an early age, are orphaned, or experience a wide array of detrimental social impacts from growing up in communities disproportionately affected by HIV.

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Space for self-determination: Making medical settings welcoming for trans* patients

June 26, 2014

Historically, trans* communities have been one of the most medically underserved populations in the United States. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), trans* people have greater access to health care than ever before. However, insurance coverage is not enough to ensure quality care, as medical settings have a long legacy of excluding and alienating transgender and gender-variant people.

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Amazon Frown

June 18, 2014

You may have read recently about how, the company that hopes to sell everything to everyone, doesn’t treat its workers fairly. Or if you follow the publishing industry, you have been long aware of how it squeezes small publishers and independent bookstores out of business through predatory pricing, mandatory “co-op fees,” demanding increasingly higher discounts and complex and costly shipping terms. Even the front page and TV news has been focusing on how Amazon is abusing its power to grab the lion’s share of income away from authors and even the largest publishers.

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Pesticides are poison, but research and activism are the antidotes

Today is World Environment Day and Hesperian would like to recognize the work of one of our admirable local partners, the Center for Environmental Research & Children’s Health (CERCH). For the last ten years, CERCH has not only contributed to our knowledge of pesticides and their complex relationships with our lives and environment, but has also worked side-by-side with farm laborers in Salinas, CA to protect farm workers and their families from the hazards of pesticides.

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Supporting Senegalese Midwives and Birth Attendants – a lesson from the African Midwives Collective

May 05, 2014

When Kaya Skye moved to the northern Mboro region of Senegal in 1996 to research topics in medical anthropology, she found herself fascinated by the state of maternal health. She observed that healthcare workers were being pushed to adopt western birthing practices, but the government- sponsored training was not explaining the rationale for certain actions.

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Assembly Required: Take action this May Day

May 01, 2014

Today, May 1st, Hesperian's offices are closed to commemorate International Workers' Day. We're taking a well-deserved day off. We'll also participate in community events and marches around the Bay Area, in Oakland,San Francisco, and Santa Rosa, demanding labor and occupational health and safety rights for all workers, regardless of their legal status, and comprehensive immigration reform.

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Healthy (e)Readers: Students in Ghana use Kindles and Where There Is No Doctor to take control of their health

In May of 2013, Hesperian Health Guides teamed up with WorldReader, an e-reader based literacy-building program, to deliver Where There Is No Doctor on Kindle devices throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Here are a few examples of what students in Ghana are learning from their copy of Where There Is No Doctor

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Safe Pregnancy and Birth App Field Tested by Health Workers in Chiapas

April 03, 2014

Hesperian is excited to have recently partnered with Compañeros en Salud (CES) to field-test our mobile app, "Safe Pregnancy and Birth". CES held two field-test sessions with community health workers, midwives, clinic staff, and community members to evaluate and solicit feedback on the content and usability of the app.

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Hesperian Goes Back to School: taking a lesson from California parents and caregivers to make the HealthWiki more mobile-friendly

Back in April of 2013, Hesperian Health Guides received a grant from The California Communications Access Foundation (CCAF) to provide free, online, multi-lingual early childhood development resources for California families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The grant enabled Hesperian to put Helping Children Who Are Deaf into the HealthWiki in four languages (EnglishSpanishChinese, and Vietnamese) and to make the Hesperian HealthWiki, our online database of searchable health information, more user-friendly to visitors using mobile devices like tablets and phones.

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Help 8 Hesperian translations that are ready to go to print!

All Hesperian books are published in English and Spanish, but all of our titles are available in multiple additional languages - over 80 so far!

How do these books get translated?

Hesperian works with amazing grassroots partners around the world, supporting them as they translate our books. Right now, Hesperian is helping 8 translation partners, located in Afghanistan, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Pakistan, to realize their vision of translating and distributing Hesperian books into Dari, Georgian, Tamil, Bahasa, Bunyore, Mongolian, Cebuano, and Urdu. These are only the projects that are close to completion—you can see more on Hesperian’s website.

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A different perspective this V-Day

February 13, 2014

This "V-Day," stand in support of the billion women around the world who are survivors of violence and rape. As you follow the One Billion Rising for Justice Campaign in the news tomorrow, we'd like to share a perspective from our Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities.

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3 Nepali women’s health titles released

Hesperian has just released not one, but three women's health titles in Nepali! These include Where Women Have No DoctorA Book for Midwives, and A Health Handbook for Women With Disabilities.

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Batting for their rights

The Society for Health Environmental and Rural Development Project (SHERDP) is a grassroots organization working in the rural district of Namakkal in Tamil Nadu, India. In 2004 SHERDP applied for a small grant from Hesperian's Creative Education Fund to support a project that showed women how to work together to stand up for their rights to get health services.  

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A new memoir from Dr. King’s physician

January 20, 2014

As we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King today, exactly 40 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Dr. King’s Nobel Peace Prize, Hesperian is excited to announce the addition of Quentin Young’s memoir, Everybody In, Nobody Out, to our Health and Empowerment bookshelf

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Safe Pregnancy and Birth App lauded as top mHealth app

January 03, 2014

An unprecedented 6 billion people now have access to mobile phones worldwide. This has enormous potential to create well-informed individuals capable of participating in actions that improve their health, all through the touch of a button. Unsurprisingly, mobile Health (mHealth) projects have seen an explosion in popularity over the last few years, with thousands of mHealth pilot programs launching every year. But are all these mHealth projects truly empowering people?

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Thanks for your support this year- Happy New Year!

December 31, 2013

As we look back at 2013, we can hardly believe how much your support has enabled us to accomplish - and we were there! Hesperian's annual report summarizes all this progress - review it online with all our other freely accessible publications.

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New Health and Empowerment title! Changing Planet, Changing Health

December 13, 2013

“Climate change isn't just inconvenient-- it kills.
–Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and author of The Coming Plague.

In the midst of devastating typhoons, tornados, and “superstorms,” climate change is increasingly at the forefront of our minds and the daily news.  Paul Epstein and Dan Ferber dig deeper into the story to explore how climate change is altering health and disease patterns.

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The Right to Love is a Human Right

December 11, 2013

Our mailbox has been overflowing this week with moving statements supporting International Human Rights Day, December 10....So it is with great sadness and anger that we receive notice from the Indian human rights organization CREA that the Indian Supreme Court has overturned the Delhi High Court judgment of 2009 which decriminalized homosexuality in India.

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1 small gift improves health for 40 families!

December 03, 2013

Each year around the holidays, we reflect on the things that are most important to us. Our families, our friends, and our health – the material items we exchange pale in comparison.

What if one small gift you gave this holiday season could improve the health of 40 families?

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A letter from Sarah Shannon, Executive Director

November 15, 2013

Hesperian's 2012-2013 Annual Report is now available! Read the letter from our Executive Director, Sarah Shannon, below; and browse the entire annual report by clicking this link on this page. This link can be found on our Projects page

Thanks for supporting Hesperian!
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Emergency health materials for the Philippines

November 15, 2013

In the face of the devastating typhoon in the Philippines, we urge everyone to forward and distribute the following health materials to every relief worker, resident, and traveler already in or leaving for the Philippines. We offer our deepest condolences to those who have been affected by this tragedy.

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Chinese-language Environmental Health book now available

November 14, 2013

Hesperian’s translation partners often develop materials that go far beyond simple translation. An example is YHDRA, an NGO in southwest China that not only completed a translation of Hesperian’s  Community Guide to Environmental Health but also undertook an extensive field-testing process that allowed them to adapt the material and effectively address local environmental conditions, incorporating indigenous knowledge and healing methods. 

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Ina May Gaskin inducted into Women’s Hall of Fame

November 07, 2013

On October 12, Ina May Gaskin, author of Birth Matters, was the first midwife ever inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame. A midwife who has attended more than 1,200 births, Ina May founded the Farm Midwifery Centerin rural Tennessee which has proven that home-birth midwives can learn to provide safe care for women without formal obstetric nursing education. Gaskin is a tireless advocate for humane care for women, and we congratulate her on this honor.

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Hesperian at the APHA

October 31, 2013

The American Public Health Association annual meeting is happening November 2-6  at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Hesperian will be there and we hope you will join us at some of the events, receptions, and presentations we have prepared. Visit us often; our booth is your booth!

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New grant: global libraries to access Hesperian’s HealthWiki

October 24, 2013

Berkeley, California – October 24th, 2013 - Hesperian Health Guides has been granted $550,531 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Global Libraries Program to increase access to free health information in public libraries around the world.

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Sarah Shannon Receives Dory Storms Child Survival Recognition Award

October 17, 2013

Hesperian’s Executive Director Sarah Shannon was given the Dory Storms Child Survival Recognition Award by the CORE Group, a Washington, D.C. based network of 70+ organizations dedicated to improving and expanding community health practices for underserved populations, especially women and children.
Hesperian’s Executive Director Sarah Shannon was given the Dory Storms Child Survival Recognition Award by the CORE Group, a network of 70+ organizations dedicated to improving and expanding community health practices for underserved populations, especially women and children. - See more at:
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Where There Is No Doctor 40th Anniversary Celebration in Washington D.C.

October 11, 2013

Happy Birthday, Where There Is No Doctor!

Join us in Washington, D.C. to celebrate an event hosted by Hesperian Health Guides and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C., this free event is open to all Hesperian friends and supporters, RPCV or not!

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50% off all disability titles!

October 11, 2013

In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Hesperian is offering a 50% discount on all of our titles related to disability, for the month of October only! Hesperian offers four groundbreaking titles in English and Spanishthat provide important, easy-to-understand, actionable information to help communities better support individuals with disabilities.

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In support of nonviolence

October 03, 2013

This week, in recognition of the International Day of Nonviolence, we stand in solidarity with the more than 45 million refugees and displaced persons who have fled conflict and violence that threaten their homes and their families. From Kenya to Jordan, India to the Gaza Strip, Tanzania to South Sudan, refugees and displaced people have been forced from their homes due to violence motivated by politics, profit, ethnicity, religion, and nationality, only to face a new series of conflicts in transit and in refugee camps.

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Press Release: Bay Area supporters of Hesperian Health Guides celebrate 40 years with Where There Is No Doctor

September 20, 2013

Berkeley, CA – September 20, 2013 – more than 200 friends and supporters of Where There Is No Doctor, Hesperian Health Guides’ flagship title, gathered last night at the David Brower Center in Berkeley to celebrate 40 years saving lives through empowering health information. Since its first publication in 1973, Where There Is No Doctor has undergone 28 updated editions, has been translated into 80 languages, and more than 3 million copies in circulation have touched the lives of well over 100 million people around the world- the World Health Organization has called it “the most widely used health guide in the world.”

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Zafrullah Chowdhury: “Knowledge should not be coded and camouflaged”

September 05, 2013

Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury visited Hesperian last week in Berkeley, California and shared his story of founding a community-based health clinic in 1972 in newly independent Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan), in the aftermath of horrific violence and political turmoil.

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Building good health, one story at a time

August 21, 2013

At Hesperian, we often write about our Gratis Books Program that sends over 1,000 free books each year to community health workers and educators around the world who can’t afford to purchase them. You may also be familiar with the global reach of Hesperian’s resources; over the past 40 years, our books have been translated into 80 languages by community partners and can be found in at least 221 countries and territories around the world.  But beyond the numbers, how do we know the true impact of Hesperian's materials? How do we know that Hesperian resources are contributing to better health?

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It’s time to party and you’re invited!

August 14, 2013

Hesperian Health Guides invites you to celebrate 40 years withWhere There Is No Doctor. Join us on Thursday, September 19th for a free night of fun, food, and drink! Appetizers and drinks will be served, RSVP required to attend.


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New Free Chapter on First Aid!

July 11, 2013

For years, community health workers have depended upon the first aid information in Where There Is No Doctor to respond to accidents and injuries that occur at work, in the home and community, from natural disasters, and now from climate change.

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