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by K. Riva Levinson

August 21, 2019

Last week marked an extraordinary advancement in our global health security as clinical drug trials treating Ebola, one of the most deadly known pathogens to mankind, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), saw a 90 percent survival rate in patients where past outbreaks claimed up to 90 percent of their victims. While an experimental vaccine was in use to protect people from catching Ebola, this is the first effective treatment for those infected with the hemorrhagic fever. Never before has a drug been developed and administered during an ongoing epidemic, jumping what can be a decade-long queue through regulatory agencies for neglected diseases, which some call the pharmaceutical valley of death.

by K. Riva Levinson

July 30, 2019

I was traveling from Washington, D.C. to Monrovia, Liberia, on 14 July when Donald Trump, in a series of Sunday morning tweets, told four progressive Congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from, setting off a political firestorm with accusations of racism and xenophobia against the U.S. president. Though he didn’t name them, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley(D-Mass.), critics of his immigration polices, were clearly the targets. Only Omar was not born in the U.S. She emigrated from Somalia.

by K. Riva Levinson

July 01, 2019

When I entered the Joaquim Chissano International Conference center in Maputo, Mozambique, on 19 June for the opening of the Corporate Council on Africa’s (CCA) summit and the roll-out of the Trump administration’s Prosper Africa strategy, my first reaction was, “what were the organizers thinking?!” Who inaugurates a U.S. policy to counter our global competitors, most notably China, in a conference center built by the Chinese, with a grant of 50 percent of the construction cost, attached to a colossus of a hotel, the Hong Kong-managed AFECC Gloria, flanked by lions sitting on pedestals, in capital city where the skyline is dominated by the Maputo–Catembe Bridge, the largest suspension bridge on the continent with 85 percent of the $725 million cost financed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC)?

by K. Riva Levinson

June 08, 2019

At the close of the fourth episode of the HBO mini-series Chernobyl, the highest ranked TV show ever scored by IMDb, we learn that Lyudmilla, the pregnant wife of the heroic firefighter Vasily Ignatenko, survives an otherwise fatal dose of radiation because her unborn fetus absorbed the radioactivity. This did happen. Lyudmilla is alive today and living in Kiev. This reminded me of a story I heard from a doctor who battled the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Ebola is one of the most lethal-known pathogens; the 2014 outbreak left more than 11,000 persons dead, 28,000 infected, and a generation of orphans behind.

by K. Riva Levinson

May 28, 2019

When Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton unveiled the long-awaited Africa Strategy of the Trump Administration on 13 December, 2018 to an over-capacity crowd at the Heritage Foundation, the reception — including mine — was pretty grim. On 18 June, in Maputo Mozambique, the content of Prosper Africa will be disclosed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on the margins of the annual summit of the U.S. Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).

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