Sophie Cousins

From The Blog
23 August 2022

In a rare moment of internet connectivity – only possible by satellite – doctors at Ayder Referral Hospital in Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, made contact using Telegram and Signal. ‘The situation is terrible: no vaccines for children, no oxygen for critically ill patients, no chemotherapy for cancer patients,’ one doctor told me.

From The Blog
4 March 2022

International Women’s Day on 8 March is an annual event, recognised by the UN since the mid-1970s, that celebrates women’s achievements and raises awareness of gender inequality. If you search for IWD online, the top hit is, a website that promises to celebrate women, provides guidance and resources to support IWD events, and offers a way to donate to female-focused charities. It’s unclear who runs the site, which does not appear to have any direct links to the UN. It lists thirty or so corporate ‘supporters’, including Northrop Grumman, one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers and military technology providers, and Lockheed Martin, the American aerospace, arms, defence, information security and technology company.

From The Blog
18 December 2020

The first recorded polio epidemic was in Sweden in the 1880s, though inscriptions in Egypt suggest the disease dates back to ancient times. In 1916 the virus devastated New York and swathes of the north-eastern United States, killing six thousand people, mostly children, and leaving thousands more paralysed. Unlike other deadly epidemic diseases, such as tuberculosis, polio appeared to have no correlation to poverty. ‘Once the terror stalks, mere wealth cannot buy immunity,’ as the Ladies Home Journal put it in 1935. ‘The well-fed babies of the boulevards are no safer than gamins from the gutter from the mysterious universality of the crippling midget, once it’s on the rampage.’

From The Blog
4 November 2020

Three gunmen stormed Kabul University on Monday, taking dozens of hostages as hundreds of students fled for their lives. The six-hour siege, for which Islamic State claimed responsibility, left at least 35 students dead and many more injured. Jamshid, an economics student, was in class. ‘We were listening to the teacher when the electricity went out and the attack began,’ he told me. ‘If we stayed in the classroom, I thought that maybe the terrorists will kill me and my classmates.’ He managed to escape. Sara, Daoud, Rauf, Ali, Husna and Ahmad did not. The list goes on. They were going to be teachers, nurses, scholars, writers, artists, public administrators, economists. 

From The Blog
9 July 2020

According to figures compiled by researchers at McGill University, the Covid-19 pandemic is predicted to cause an additional 400,000 malaria deaths this year; an additional 700,000 HIV-related deaths in Africa alone; 15 million unintended pregnancies; and up to 1.4 million additional tuberculosis deaths by 2025. The list continues: at least 80 million children under one are at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, rubella and polio, as routine immunisation services have been disrupted in almost 70 countries. There could be an additional 113,000 maternal deaths in the next 12 months because of disruption to care before, during and after childbirth.

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