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The fight for global health: Seven investigations around the globe


The fight for global health: Seven investigations around the globe

Picture of Stella Volkenand
Stella Volkenand — Marketing and Communications Manager
July 11, 2022

Winning stories of our Global Health Security Grant for freelance journalists

In-depth media coverage of issues such as pandemic preparedness, vaccine development, and equitable access to health care is essential to keeping the topic of global health security on the public agenda and encouraging European governments to prioritise their funding commitments.

In 2021, the European Journalism Centre awarded €100,000 of grants to 14 journalistic projects to publish solutions-oriented and impactful stories across France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Sweden and beyond.

Now, these stories have been published. Last week, we presented you seven solutions-focussed stories, documenting the efforts of communities to overcome systemic problems of our healthcare systems.

In this article, we are sharing seven impactful investigations on under-reported issues by our grantees with you.

Superbugs in Bangladesh: the world’s next big pandemic is invisible

Industrial pollution is leaving antimicrobial residues in India’s Musi river, breeding a new type of drug-resistant bacteria. Locals are already suffering from skin infections, leaving scientists in fear that the issue has the potential to spark a new health crisis.

Catherine Davison and Natalie Mayroth combine impressive photography with scientific research and expert interviews to illustrate the reasons and the impact of the issue.

Access for the aged in India: Health inequality amongst the most vulnerable in times of pandemic

While India is scaling up its vaccination drive, successfully fighting vaccine resistance among citizens, the pressure on the system has meant that the aged population has less access to medical facilities for non-covid related health issues. They also suffer from anxiety and depression due to the isolation in old age homes.
Martina Merten is giving insights from the current situation on-site.

South Asia’s ticking time bomb — multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Bangladesh and India

India accounts for about a quarter of all new tuberculosis infections. Adding to the worry is the presence of its multidrug-resistant forms in the country. Misdiagnosis and unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions or just lack of financial means to continue treatment have contributed to a spike to cases.

Catherine Davison and Natalie Mayroth are reporting on current research and efforts to handle the issue.

Dr. Vikas Oswal, a chest physician in Mumbai specializing in tuberculosis has seen a 20% increase in cases amongst women over the past two years. Image: Catherine Davison
Dr. Vikas Oswal, a chest physician in Mumbai specializing in tuberculosis has seen a 20% increase in cases amongst women over the past two years. Image: Catherine Davison

Africa: From vaccine nationalism to vaccine equity

How effective are COVID-19 vaccines for people with HIV? There is very little data to answer this question, as many groups of immunocompromised people were left out of initial clinical trials. Grantees Sandy Ong and Emma Bryce are talking with experts from the US, the UK and South Africa and look behind the scenes of a new study across eight African nations.

Images: Getty Images via
Images: Getty Images via

One Health

According to WHO, about one in ten patients treated with antiretroviral drugs against HIV develop some form of resistance, especially in low- and middle-income countries. This story by Sara Assarsson looks at Senegal where intensive work is underway to strengthen the country’s resilience to the next pandemic.

The Health Game

At a refugee shelter in Bosnia, thousands of migrants wait to enter the European Union. While some basic services, health facilities and food are provided, hundreds have opted instead for abandoned houses to have more freedom of movement. Our grantees Sara Perria and Chiara Luxardo have visited the camp to report on the challenges of providing healthcare to those who stay outside the formal system and the resulting grave health issues.

Amazon rainforest, ground zero of the next pandemic?

If deforestation continues to accelerate, the Amazon rainforest could become the ground zero of the next pandemic. In Brazil, scientists are studying zoonoses, diseases transmissible between animals to humans, with the aim of preventing an epidemic. Our grantee Solenn Cordroc’h reported on causes and solutions.

Image: Igor Gimbosh
Image: Igor Gimbosh

About the grant funding

The 2021 Global Health Security Call is delivering grant funding and facilitating research opportunities to support in-depth journalistic analysis on the topic of global health security. The EJC is awarding these grants at a time when freelancers face funding constraints to report on relevant in-depth stories, and mainstream media organisations in Europe can lack the resources to fund extensive field research or ‘embedded’ journalism on big topics, challenges and solutions.

The awarded journalists not only benefit from grant funding but also the opportunity to sustain working relationships with the opinion-forming media outlets that their stories will be published in. Furthermore, the Call helps the journalists broker constructive relationships with relevant external stakeholders and experts, and engage the public, key stakeholders and decision-makers about the topics being reported on.

About the Call Partners

The Call is being delivered by the EJC and is supported by a total of €100,000 of grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since 2013, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has supported the EJC to award €6.5m to more than 200 journalism projects reporting on global challenges.

About the EJC

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) is an international non-profit headquartered in the Netherlands, working to support, strengthen and develop journalism.

Our mission is to strengthen the resilience of European journalism and progressive media by connecting journalists and media to new ideas, nurturing communities, making available a wide range of unique experiences, providing grants and skills development, and producing resources and training affordable or for free. Our aim is that every journalist and news organisation shall benefit from an EJC programme or initiative.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. Its mission is to create a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life. It partners with entrepreneurs, companies, and other organisations to create incentives that harness the power of private enterprise to create change for those who need it most.


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