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Toward a healthy and peaceful 2017

staff-pic-2016Hesperian 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. 

As the Zika virus spreads in Brazil, Hesperian is among the first to respond with clear, actionable information that shares facts, not rumors. 

Our new book Recruiting the Heart is inspiring, supporting, and guiding health promotion programs working to improve health in communities throughout the US. 

Women worldwide are benefiting from new editions of A Book for Midwives in French, Health Actions for Women in Khmer, information on preventing obstetric fistula, and a wealth of new content in many languages in our online HealthWiki 

The brand new Kreyol edition of Where There Is No Doctor helps people struggling for health in Haiti, especially in the wake of Hurricane Matthew and a devastating cholera epidemic. 

We already know the challenges 2017 will bring: protecting environmental health, guarding and improving people’s access to care, ending discrimination in health, and fostering peace and justice. Hesperian has always created materials that empower people to stand up to these challenges, and this year will be no exception. 

Here’s a few things to expect from Hesperian in the coming year: 

Resources to support caregivers of children affected by HIV
Environmental health materials on fracking 
Smartphone apps to promote women’s health
 Internet access to all Hesperian materials
Spanish editions of Health Actions for Women and Workers’ Guide to Health and Safety
Translations of other books into Bangla, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Russian and more

Your support will make this work possible. Buy a Hesperian book to organize in your community, or make a donation to further our efforts in the New Year.

From all of us at Hesperian, best wishes for peace and good health in 2017.

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

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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? 

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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.

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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.

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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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