Helen Epstein is a writer specializing in public health and an adjunct professor at Bard College. She has advised numerous organizations, including the United States Agency for International Development, the World Bank, Human Rights Watch, and UNICEF. She is the author of The Invisible Cure: Why We Are Losing the Fight Against AIDS in Africa.


The Strange Politics of Saving the Children

UNICEF’s executive director Jim Grant at the São Martinho children’s shelter, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992

A Mighty Purpose: How Jim Grant Sold the World on Saving Its Children

by Adam Fifield
The United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, was established shortly after World War II to improve the lives of children worldwide, but it was facing hard times when Jim Grant took over as executive director in 1980. In the poor countries where the agency did most of its work, 15 …

Ebola in Liberia: An Epidemic of Rumors

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; portrait by former President George W. Bush from his exhibition ‘The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,’ at the George W. Bush Center in Dallas last spring
Eventually Ebola will be contained in Liberia, and next time people should be ready for it so fewer will die. Maybe none will die if new medicines are developed by then. But the virus has shed light on a far tougher problem. Many Liberians don’t trust their president or her government.


Who’s Cheating Kenyan Voters?

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga at a rally in Kisumu, Kenya, October 20, 2017

Two weeks ago, Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga pulled out of the election rerun scheduled for October 26, claiming that nothing had been done to remedy the problems that marred the first one, which was nullified September 1. Why isn’t the US doing more to pressure President Uhuru Kenyatta to address the blatant election issues? America may not be as neutral in Kenya’s electoral contest as it claims to be.

Kenya: The Election & the Cover-Up

Kenyans waiting to vote in the presidential election, Gatundu, Kenya August 8, 2017

Another rigged election in Africa is not news. But that US election observers were so quick to endorse it is shocking. Perhaps they believed that wrapping the election up quickly would prevent violence. A far more troubling possibility is that the US wants Kenyatta to remain in power, at the expense of democracy.

The Cost of Fake Democracy

Police chasing a supporter of Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye, Kampala, Uganda, February 19, 2016

It’s become fashionable lately to disparage democracy. From the failure of “nation building” attempts in Iraq, to the rise of Donald Trump, some see government of the people as a liability in a violent and polarized world. Readers who find such arguments appealing might want to consider moving to impoverished, corruption-ridden Uganda, ruled by President Yoweri Museveni for thirty years through a combination of bribery, blackmail, and brute force.