The team at the Pulitzer Gateway (a site from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting) have turned their focus toward worldwide maternal health and produced “Dying for Life,” a package that spans five countries and three continents. Here are its components:
A reminder that despite a slight improvement in global maternal health, the situation in some countries is still deteriorating. The end result will be “Edge of Joy,” a documentary set to be released this summer.
Hanna Ingber Win visits maternal health programs administered by the UN Population Fund. She filed five dispatches.
Samuel Loewenberg investigated the social, medical, economic and political factors behind the “health crises” affecting two impoverished Mexican states. He filed three stories.
Marco Vernaschi photographed the everyday realities of a region with critical health care access and delivery issues.
Hanna Ingber Win investigated maternal health disparities and efforts to improve the situation in India, particularly the province of Assam. She posted five stories.
The Independent‘s Daniel Howden reports that, for about $75 million, Pfizer has settled cases related to a disastrous unlicensed medical trial in Nigeria. The trial involved the experimental broad-spectrum antibiotic Trovan trial on 100 Nigerian children trapped in the midst of a devastating outbreak. Pfizer called the trial a humanitarian mission but did not get the consent of parents or the Nigerian government.
Howden tells the story of the trial itself, which Pfizer conducted near a legitimate Doctors Without Borders clinic:
From the crowd that had gathered at the Kano Infectious Diseases Hospital, 200 sick children were picked. Half were given doses of the experimental Pfizer drug called Trovan and the others were treated with a proven antibiotic from a rival company.
Eleven of the children died and many more, it is alleged, later suffered serious side-effects ranging from organ failure to brain damage.
Pfizer’s defense, meanwhile, was almost as sketchy as the trial itself:
Pfizer has denied this and says consent had been given by the Nigerian state and the families of those treated. It produced a letter of permission from a Kano ethics committee. The letter turned out to have been backdated and the committee set up a year after the original medical trial.
Finally, Howden notes that the legal wrangling isn’t over yet, thanks to a court ruling dictating that Pfizer could stand trial in the United States as well.