Author: Lake Toba

Furthermore! – The Network is Down

Where is your wireless network? I’m sitting in your coffee shop. One I’ve visited many times before. I come here because you have great sandwiches and soups, made fresh in the store, every day. I come here because I like the air conditioning when my apartment’s can’t keep up with the summer heat. I come here with friends to chat and enjoy company. And I come here to use your network. I have my own, but sitting in a cave in my apartment holds little appeal for me when I’m interested in getting a few hours of work done. How the world has changed. I sometimes wonder whether there is a new fluorescence of coffee shops – perhaps brought around because of the lattes and frappes of the Starbucks era, where yuppies could enjoy a pseudo-Italian named drink. Perhaps too the advent of WiFi has changed forever the expectations of people. It’s there and it’s free, a fringe benefit of loitering in a coffee shop. So here I am, at your establishment. There is soothing classical music playing. People around me are having fun conversation about people they know, and things they’ve done. But your network is completely down. My laptop can’t even find the merest hint of a hub. Did you turn if off for some reason? Perhaps too many people come here for the network, and not...

Read More

Evening Focus: Interview with The Carter Center, Part 3 – Responding to Guinea Worm Outbreaks

The key to eradicating Guinea worm disease is “surveillance, surveillance, surveillance.” (More) This is Part 3 of my interview with Craig Withers, the Director of Program Support at The Carter Center. In Part 1, we talked about the political and cultural challenges The Carter Center faces in their efforts to eradicate Guinea worm disease. In Part 2, we discussed how The Carter Center helps people gain and maintain access to safer water as part of their Guinea worm eradication efforts. Tonight our interview concludes with how The Carter Center responds to outbreaks of Guinea worm disease. Craig Withers has more than 20 years experience in public health policy. He received a Master of Business Administration in international business and a Master of Health Administration in health planning from Georgia State University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Notre Dame. His honors include awards for work done as special assistant to the deputy director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. +++++ LT: Active monitoring is required to ensure that new cases of Guinea worm disease are caught early and to facilitate certification eradication of the disease. That must be an enormous undertaking. How do you gather and follow up on Guinea worm disease cases? And what are the most critical parts of that effort? CW:...

Read More

Evening Focus: In Africa with The Carter Center, Part 2 – Safe Water

Americans often take clean water for granted. But in Africa, as The Carter Center’s Craig Withers explains, clean water can be hard to find. (More) This is Part 2 of my interview with Craig Withers, the Director of Program Support at The Carter Center. Last week in Part 1 we discussed political and cultural challenges The Carter Center faces in their efforts to eradicate Guinea worm disease. This week we discuss how The Carter Center helps people gain and maintain access to safer water as part of their Guinea worm eradication efforts. Next week our interview concludes with how The Carter Center responds to outbreaks of Guinea worm disease. Craig Withers has more than 20 years experience in public health policy. He received a Master of Business Administration in international business and a Master of Health Administration in health planning from Georgia State University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Notre Dame. His honors include awards for work done as special assistant to the deputy director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. +++++ LT: Access to clean water is essential to the eradication to the disease. Some of the tools mentioned are creating new wells, chemical treatment and filtration. What other steps do you take to enhance access to clean water? What challenges do...

Read More

Evening Focus: In Africa with The Carter Center, Part 1

I had the pleasure to interview Craig Withers of The Carter Center about their work to eradicate Guinea Worm Disease in Africa. (More) Last month, as part of my Evening Focus series on Water Security, I offered a case study on Guinea Worm Disease. The conclusion of that case study highlighted the efforts of The Carter Center toward eradicating that disease. The Carter Center contacted me about that article, and set up an interview with Director of Program Support Craig Withers to explore their work in more detail. Craig Withers has more than 20 years experience in public health policy. He received a Master of Business Administration in international business and a Master of Health Administration in health planning from Georgia State University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Notre Dame. His honors include awards for work done as special assistant to the deputy director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We had a long and fascinating conversation. Tonight in Part 1, we discuss the political and cultural challenges of Guinea Worm Disease. Next Monday in Part 2, Mr. Withers will share The Carter Center’s efforts to provide access to clean drinking water. On August 1st in Part 3, we’ll talk about how The Carter Center works with other organizations to detect and respond...

Read More

Evening Focus: Water Security, Part 5 – Case Study: Guinea Worm Disease (Conclusion)

Guinea Worm Disease may soon be eradicated worldwide. That won’t have been easy to do, and the difficulties highlight issues of water security. (More) Monday in Evening Focus we began our discussion of Guinea Worm Disease. We conclude this evening with a discussion of eradication efforts and some thoughts about how the struggle against Guinea Worm Disease reflects Water Security issues. Efforts at eradication At one time, the disease spread across equatorial Africa, and portions of southern Asia including Iran, Pakistan and the former USSR. The One of the earliest successful eradication efforts was achieved by the Soviet Union during the 1930s. But by the the 1950s the parasite still sickened approximately 50 million people. Iran completed eradication efforts in the 1970s. The global campaign to eradicate Guinea worm began in 1980 at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guinea worm disease (GWD) eradication was targeted as an ideal indicator of success for the United Nations 1981-1990 International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade (IDWSSD) because the disease could only be transmitted through contaminated drinking water. A year later, GWD eradication was adopted as a sub-goal of the IDWSSD. In 1985, CDC was designated as the WHO Collaborating Center for Research, Training, and Eradication of Dracunculiasis. While support for eradication was felt to be strong in endemic countries, there were political and societal barriers to eradication...

Read More

Archives