China’s Aid in Africa: Good Intentions Mix with Bad Drugs (Pulitzer Center and The Guardian)

In its quest to win allies and influence global affairs, China focuses much of its aid on health care in the developing world – not unlike the United States. Yet China has extreme challenges of its own, due to endemic corruption and safety issues.

While China’s health programs, hospitals and medical teams often do provide access to life-saving drugs, vaccines and medical care in Africa and Southeast Asia, problems in the supply chain are already affecting global health in negative ways. Fake drugs threaten China’s image in Africa and, more importantly, the health of African people who have been making incremental gains thanks to global aid programs. The issue has been touched on primarily in academic reports, but there has been little serious investigative reporting about how China’s health aid is influencing Africa.

Focussing on fake malaria pills, Kathleen McLaughlin traveled to Tanzania and Uganda, two of the countries worst-plagued by the parasite, given their borders on Great Lake Victoria – the world’s second-largest lake and home to some of the world’s deadliest mosquitoes. The fake pills are, quite simply, everywhere. Nearly everyone has a story about fake medications, mostly malaria pills. Because government hospitals are overloaded and corruption makes drugs go missing from official supplies, thousands of people turn to the local pharmacy and buy potentially life-saving drugs when they get the hallmark malarial fever. But in many cases – up to one third of the time – those drugs are fake. The parasite lives on and, when the drugs contain half-strength of partial active ingredients, the parasite can potentially become resistant to real treatment.

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Apple Factories in China: Investigating labor violations in the world’s biggest electronic supply chain.

A look inside the electronics factories that make the world’s gadgets reveals that many, including some making Apple products, cut corners and damage workers’ health and safety. At one particular factory in eastern China, more than 100 factory employees fell ill after being exposed to dangerous chemicals on-the-job. 

Elsewhere in China, illegal overtime and low wages are the norm. As the electronics supply chain was fragmented, companies made it more difficult to tie specifics brands to labor violations. This series verified that Apple suppliers were involved in dangerous practices that left some workers with potentially lifelong damage to their health.

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One Comment

  1. Nice web page. and here I thought you just a globe trotting rich person. Now, I find out you have a job!

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