Science Journal & Yaws …

Published today … my work for the venerable and highly respected ‘Science’ journal on combatting Yaws disease in Papua New Guinea.

‘Science’, one of the world’s most respected academic journals and also one of the oldest on the planet founded back in 1880 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has an estimated readership in excess of half a million.

So I am obviously delighted to have one of my images gracing the cover and more spread over six pages inside and alongside the story by ‘Science’ mags Amsterdam based International News Editor Martin Enserink.

Also delighted with the five minute online film crafted by ‘Science’ journal’s Sarah Crespi using many more of my still Images combined with video segments that I made on the islands which may be found here …  and also below (bottom).

Martin’s excellent story tells of the work of a (thoroughly engaging) young Catalan doctor, Oriol Mitjà, who has dedicated his practice to the eradication of the tropical bacterial skin disease Yaws which, if left untreated, can disfigure the skin and bones causing lifelong pain and disability. The disease is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum (a close relative of that which causes syphilis) and spreads primarily through skin contact, mostly between children.

Martin and I travelled to Lihir in the Bismarck Archipelago in remote north east Papua New Guinea where we met Oriol and crew before a two hour Pacific Ocean crossing to Namatanai in New Ireland. Our visit coincided with the start of Oriol’s latest attempt at Yaws eradication … the first round of the mass medication of the entire 60,000 population of Namatanai with the oral antibiotic azithromycin. An epic challenge indeed … but such is Oriol’s single-mindedness he is determined to succeed with his plan to see the end of Yaws … and for it to become only the second human disease in history to be eradicated after smallpox in 1980.

The subject of my cover photo (top, below) … fifteen year old Stanis Malom … lives in the tiny village of Tumbuapil on Lihir Island. His severe Yaws infection has impacted the integrity of the bones in his leg and he also now has an open wound the size of a tennis ball. He no longer attends school … the stigma is too much.

Anyway … I’m rabbiting on … and Martin is a far better story teller than I … and his complete story (and my images) can be found here …

My Thanks to Martin, Oriol, my subjects at Lihir and Namatanai, ‘Science’ journal Photography Managing Editor Bill Douthitt … and acknowledge the welcome assistance of the Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting.

Below … the cover (top), six inside pages (middle) of the new ‘Science’ edition … ‘Science’ online film (bottom)

Still and Moving Images © Brian Cassey & ‘Science’


Science Journal - Yaws Disease story - Namatanai, Lihir Papua New Guines - images Brian Cassey

Science Journal - Yaws Disease story - Namatanai, Lihir Papua New Guinea - images by Brian Cassey