Maanvi Singh

At first glance, you see a young girl goofing around with her friends.

But there's one crucial detail: This girl — 16-year-old Nirma — has a traditional stripe of vermilion powder smudged into her forehead. In her region in India, that's a sign that means Nirma is married.

Sharelle Klaus says she has always been a foodie.

So she was gutted when she had to pass up an opportunity to dine at The French Laundry, the famous Napa Valley restaurant with three Michelin stars. She was pregnant at the time — and not drinking.

"What would be the point?" she says she remembers thinking.

She didn't want to travel all the way from Seattle — and be stuck drinking water while her dining companions enjoyed an array of Napa wines, carefully chosen to complement and complete each dish.

What do Bolivia, Belgium, Burkina Faso, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Scotland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam all have in common?

The pervasive idea is that girls are vulnerable and that boys are strong and independent.

What does it mean to be resilient — to be able to face trauma and get through it?

You're resilient if you're like a stick of bamboo — able to bend with the winds rather than break in half. That's how psychologists like to explain it.

But in different cultures, the source of that strength can be very different. That's the finding in a study published in the journal Child Development. The researchers interviewed Syrian tweens and teens who had been displaced because of war.

How did Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever come to strike in Spain? And how worried should we be?

That's the question a team of epidemiologists and microbiologists has been trying to answer for the past year.

The disease is a tick-borne, Ebola-like virus. Because it's a lesser-known illness, it is often misdiagnosed. So there aren't very good official statistics on the number of cases in many parts of the world.

The world loses about 3,000 adolescents each day. That adds up to 1.2 million deaths a year. And with a bit more investment, the majority of those deaths can be prevented, according to a global study released on Tuesday by the World Health Organization.

If, like many of us, you are reading this article on the toilet — then we've caught you at the perfect time.

When you're done with your business, perhaps you'll do a thorough hand washing. Or maybe just a quick rinse. Or maybe you'll skip it altogether.

Failure to wash is a problem for ordinary folks. Germs on your unwashed hands can get into your body when you touch, say, your eyes or mouth. And into your food, too.

At the northern border of Somalia and Ethiopia, a group of teenage boys forced two girls — aged 14 and 16 — into a car, drove them to another location, stripped them and raped them.

The incident occurred on December 6. This weekend, a community court charged the perpetrators with thousands of dollars in fines, as well as up to 200 lashes and 10 years in jail. That's an unexpected outcome in a country where the perpetrators of rape often pay a small fine and walk free.

Things were already going pretty badly for Florence Manyande. Then one day last spring, while walking down the street, she was hit by a car.

"This woman saw, and she pulled me out of the road." recalls Manyande, 50. "She tried to talk to me, but I couldn't talk then. I had a lot on my mind."

"I lost more than 80 percent of my university friends," recalls Jagannath Lamichhane.

After silently struggling with depression for two decades, Lamichhane published an essay in Nepal Times about his mental illness. "I could have hid my problem — like millions of people around the world," he says, but "if we hide our mental health, it may remain a problem forever."

When the last remaining hospital in besieged eastern Aleppo crumbled under a wave of artillery strikes on Nov. 18, one of the casualties was 25-year-old nurse Kefah.

"The last time he called me was one night before he was killed," says Dr. A.M. — an intensive care specialist based in Detroit who, for the past four years, has been providing training and support via Skype and WhatsApp to medical staff in Aleppo. He asked that we only use his initials because the Syrian government has persecuted doctors — and their families — for treating rebels.

The federal government is getting into hip-hop — well, sort of.

The tiny Samoan islands have among the highest rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in the world — and diet and weight-related health issues have been rising in these Pacific nations since the 1970s. Now 1 in 3 residents of American Samoa suffers from diabetes.

Attend any conference on global health or peruse the United Nations website, and you'll find some ambitious thinking. World leaders say they want to eliminate tuberculosis and malaria, end AIDS and ensure that every pregnant woman can get the medical care she needs. And they want all that to happen now.

But is any of it actually achievable?

When Dr. Etheldreda Nakimuli-Mpungu graduated from medical school, her mother told her, "OK, good. But you know it's not good to just be a doctor."

Umm, what?

"She, said, 'There's some doctors you go to and they don't make you better. I want you to be one of the doctors that really makes people better,' " Mpungu recalls. "And I thought, 'Oh, no. What does she mean now?' "

Mpungu went on to work in a surgical ward. And then with children. She was helping people — but couldn't say she was really living up to her mother's high expectations.

The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes really suck — literally and figuratively.

They're really good at finding and sucking on human blood. Which especially sucks, because their inescapable, insidious little bites can infect people with the Zika virus as well as dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

These buggers — like most mosquitoes -- will bite where we're least likely to notice — at the ankles, behind the knees and at the back of our necks. No matter how much you cover up, one or two will home in on even the smallest cracks of exposed skin.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with quotes from an NPR interview with Dr. Michael Abrahams, the rapping OB-GYN.

Jamaica has had only one confirmed case of the Zika virus, brought in by a traveler — and the government wants to keep it that way.

If you've been following the news about the spread of the Zika virus throughout Latin America, you've probably gotten lost in the jargon once or twice. What's a vector? A reservoir? What's local transmission — the opposite of express transmission?

So we went to the experts to help us wade through all this murky language. And they were helpful — sort of. Because it turns out that even the experts don't agree 100 percent on the definitions.

The T.b. gambiense parasite is truly a menace. It causes African sleeping sickness — a disease that attacks the nervous system and brain, disrupting sleep, causing rapid mood swings and confusion, essentially driving people mad before it kills them.

Researchers have been studying the parasite for years, looking for leads to help them develop a vaccine or drugs that would wipe it out.

On any given episode of East Los High, the highly addictive teen soap on Hulu that just got a fourth season, you'll see love triangles and heartbreak, mean girls and bad boys, and some seriously skillful dancing. Think a Latino Degrassi meets Gossip Girl meets Glee.

From the mundane to the bizarre, everything seemed to include a hashtag in global development this year.

There was #EarthtoParis for the climate change meeting in Paris. There was #WorldToiletDay for you guessed it. And there was #MugabeFalls, which helped turn Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe into a cheeky meme after he literally fell on the red carpet during a rally.

It's been another year of reporting on deadly diseases and lifesaving cures, girls and boys, changes in the cultural and physical climate, goats

Guinea is set to celebrate with concerts and fireworks Wednesday, following the World Health Organization's announcement that the country is now officially Ebola-free.

On Tuesday, WHO declared that after two years and over 2,500 deaths, the Ebola epidemic in Guinea has officially ended. The announcement marks the passing of two 21-day incubation periods since the last person to have contracted Ebola — a baby girl called Noubia — was cured of the virus.

A six-month course of pills for tuberculosis can ward off lifelong disability or death. But children with TB have to take the same drugs as adults, and getting kids to swallow those large, foul-tasting tablets is no easy task.

The world has made a big commitment in recent years to treat and prevent infectious diseases like tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria. But another threat to global health is on the rise: Cancer rates are going up in the developing world.

And now, some heartening news in the global health world: Injuries are down by a pretty big chunk.

"Injury" in this case encompasses everything from car accidents and falls to suicides and gunshot wounds. Since 1990, the world has managed to cut down the number deaths and disabilities caused by all these factors by a third, according to a report published Thursday in the British Medical Journal.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

I'm a member of Generation Y, or the millennial generation. People like me were born in the '80s and early '90s. But I don't like to broadcast that fact. Millennials tend to get a bad rap.

Journalists and commentators love ragging on us. They say we're ill-prepared to deal with life's challenges. And that, as a result, we have higher rates of mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

Walk along one of the many streams and rivers in the West Nile region of Uganda, and you'll notice something funny. All along the riverbanks, you'll see small pieces of blue cloth, attached to wooden stakes in the ground. There's one every 50 yards or so.

No, this isn't some half-baked public art project. These dinky contraptions are actually flytraps, designed to lure and kill tsetse flies, whose bites transmit a parasitic disease called sleeping sickness, which, like rabies, drives victims mad before it kills them.

Pages