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Pulitzer Center Update April 7, 2014

This Week: India's Hospital Crisis


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Doctors have demanded fixes to India's public hospitals for years, but have been stifled by...

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Pulitzer Center grantee Michael Edison Hayden first became interested in India's government hospitals after his wife gave birth to their son last May at Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai, one of the city's best private hospitals. Michael says the quality of care was exceptional, but a stay at a private hospital is a luxury that only a small percentage of Mumbai residents can afford. That made him curious about the kind of care available to the city's less fortunate

What Michael and photojournalist Sami Siva found is disturbing. "It is common for people to be denied care in state hospitals because of the nature of an ailment or because of patients' caste, class and religion, despite the right to such services being guaranteed by the laws of Indian states," writes Michael in the introduction of a four-part series that appeared in The New York Times India Ink blog.

"Patients with infectious diseases like incurable tuberculosis or H.I.V. are sometimes refused treatment, particularly in rural regions of the country, where underequipped or undereducated staff members are frightened of getting infected. Not only does this kind of behavior defy the ethical standards of the medical practice, but it delays the treatment these patients need to survive."


The religious landscape of Saudi Arabia—a state founded on religion—is shifting. Internally, the dominance of the ultraconservative Wahhabists is being challenged by an explosion of social media and rising education levels among the kingdom's largest-ever "youth bulge." Pressures from the outside include sharpened tensions between Sunni and Shia, the rise of politically-oriented Salafism, and the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood as a major political force.

Pulitzer Center grantee and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Caryle Murphy kicks off her exploration of the evolving role of faith in Saudi Arabia with an op-ed piece that ran in the international editions of The New York Times ahead of President Obama's visit to the kingdom at the end of March.

"If the president could escape the chandeliered palaces of his hosts, he would glimpse another reality just as important for the American-Saudi relationship: That this country, whose native population is projected to reach more than 28 million by 2030, is in the throes of far-reaching transformation," Caryle writes. "In the last three years, dissidents, human rights advocates and critics of corruption—both Islamist and secular—have become increasingly vocal, especially on social media."


In a cruel and brutally destructive practice, fishermen in Peru are killing dolphins to use as shark bait. "The shark meat is predominantly consumed within Peru, but the fins we're told are being exported to the Far East for use as shark fin soup," explains Pulitzer Center grantee Jim Wickens, who documents the slaughter in a documentary for Link TV.

The practice is illegal, but Jim estimates that some 10,000 dolphins are killed each year.


South Africa is one of only two countries where the incidence of tuberculosis is still rising. To make matters worse, many cases are now resistant to drug treatment, meaning some patients are being sent back home while they are still infectious.

In a report for the BBC, Pulitzer Center grantee Meera Senthilingam follows a team from the University of Cape Town that is using new tools to investigate how the return of patients to their communities affects the spread of the disease.


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Migration and Refugees

Migration and Refugees
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Labor Rights

Labor Rights