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The Body Counter

Originally published here, March/April, 2012
Tina Rosenberg

The choreography of a typical human rights investigation goes like this: Researchers interview victims and witnesses and write their report. The local media cover it — if they can. Then those accused dismiss it; you have nothing more than stories, it’s one word against another, the sources are biased, the evidence faked. And it goes away.

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Best Cases

Since Join the Club was published, readers have written in about more successful strategies to solve problems that depend on positive peer pressure.    They are all over the map: from Biggest Loser-style team weight loss competitions to a program of Brazil’s Catholic Church that has saved countless children’s lives.    We’re checking them out and here’s some of the best ones so far, along with where to go for more information.   Keep those suggestions coming!   Email or post them on Join the Club’s Facebook page.
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Saving Lives in a Time of Cholera

By Tina Rosenberg

Cholera is on the rise around the world. Last year, according to Unicef, West and Central Africa had “one of the worst ever” cholera outbreaks. An outbreak in Haiti sickened 1 in 20 Haitians and killed more than 7,000 people. The World Health Organization estimates that there are between three million and five million cases of cholera each year, and between 100,000 and 120,000 deaths. New and more virulent strains are emerging in Asia and Africa, and the W.H.O. says that global warming creates even more hospitable conditions for the disease.
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In India, a Small Pill, With Positive Side Effects

By Amy Yee

On a cool February morning in north Delhi, India, 35 third graders sat at small desks in a spartan but tidy classroom. They wore blue school uniforms and listened as their teacher asked in Hindi if they had had intestinal worms.

A third of the children raised their hands, including 9-year-old Arjun Prasad. He sometimes felt stomach pain and weakness — symptoms of severe infection — he said. A few minutes later, Arjun and his classmates were given deworming pills, and took them during the class. They were among the 3.7 million children in Delhi who have taken the pills as part of a recent campaign in India’s capital to stamp out the widespread but neglected ailment.
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