Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is a journalist and broadcaster from Ghana who reports for NPR News on issues and developments related to West Africa. She spent her early years in Ghana, Italy, Britain and Kenya.

Quist-Arcton has lived and worked in the U.K., France, Ivory Coast, U.S., South Africa and most recently Senegal, traveling all over Africa as a journalist, broadcaster, commentator and host.

After completing high school in Britain, she took a degree in French studies with international relations and Spanish at the London School of Economics (LSE) and went on to study radio journalism at the Polytechnic of Central London, with two internships at the BBC.

Quist-Arcton joined the BBC in 1985, working at a number of regional radio stations all over Britain, moving two years later to the renowned BBC World Service at Bush House in London, as a producer and host in the African Service. She traveled and reported throughout Africa.

She spent the year leading up to 1990 in Paris, on a BBC journalist exchange with Radio France International (RFI), working in "Monito" — a service supplying reports and interviews about Africa to African radio stations, and with RFI's English (for Africa) Service as a host, reporter and editor.

Later in 1990, Quist-Arcton won one of the BBC's coveted foreign correspondents posts, moving to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to head the corporation's West Africa bureau. From there, she covered 24 countries, straddling the Sahara to the heart of the continent — crisscrossing the continent from Mauritania, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali, to Zaire and Congo-Brazzaville, via Chad, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. She contributed to all BBC radio and television outlets, covering the flowering of democracy in the region, as well as the outbreak of civil wars, revolutions and coups, while always keeping an eye on the "other" stories about Africa that receive minimal media attention — including the continent's rich cultural heritage. Quist-Arcton also contributed to NPR programs during her reporting assignment in West and Central Africa.

After four years as BBC West Africa correspondent, she returned to Bush House in 1994, as a host and senior producer on the BBC World Service flagship programs, Newshour & Newsday (now The World Today), and as a contributing Africa specialist for other radio and TV output.

Quist-Arcton laced up her traveling shoes again in 1995 and relocated to Boston as a roving reporter for The World, a co-production between the BBC, Public Radio International (PRI) and WGBH. She lived in Cambridge and enjoyed getting to know Massachusetts and the rest of New England, learning a new language during winter, most of it related to snow!

For The World, she traveled around the United States, providing the program with an African journalist's perspective on North American life. She also spent six months as a roving Africa reporter, covering — among other events — the fall of President Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1997.

In 1998, after another stint back at BBC World Service, Quist-Arcton was appointed co-host of the South African Broadcasting Corporation's flagship radio drive-time show, PM Live, based in Johannesburg.

In 2000, she left the BBC to join allAfrica.com (allAfricaGlobal Media) as Africa correspondent, covering the continent's top stories, in all domains, and developing new radio shows for webcast and syndication to radio stations around the continent.

After six years in South Africa, Quist-Arcton joined NPR in November 2004 at the newly-created post of West Africa Correspondent, moving back to her home region, with a new base in Senegal.

Her passions are African art and culture, music, literature, open-air markets, antiques - and learning. She loves to travel and enjoys cycling and photography.

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Goats and Soda
4:58 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

In Liberia's Hard-Hit Lofa County, Ebola Continues To Take A Toll

Alieu P. Manor, 18, survived Ebola. He gazes into the room of his cousin, Varlee Kanneh, who was not so lucky.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 3:18 pm

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has hurt Liberia more than any other country. And within Liberia, no town has been hit harder than the primarily Muslim farming town of Barkedu, in Lofa County in the far north. Despite a population of just 8,000, the small, dusty town accounts for a large percentage of the country's more than 1,000 Ebola deaths to date. The virus has swept away entire families — children, women and men.

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Goats and Soda
1:43 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

In The County Where Ebola First Struck Liberia, A Cry For Help

Morris Nyumah wanted to help his country fight Ebola, so he signed up to work as a hygienist at the Doctors Without Borders care center in Lofa County.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 8:46 am

Lush and green, Lofa was once the breadbasket of Liberia. But farming has slowed in the northern county. The reason is Ebola.

The virus reportedly first landed in Liberia when an infected person crossed the border into Lofa County from neighboring Guinea in March.

Doctors Without Borders is there to care for the sick.

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Africa
5:08 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Doctors Struggle To Treat Ebola Patients In Liberian Border Town

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 7:56 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Goats and Soda
4:41 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Remembering Shacki: Liberia's Accidental Ebola Victim

Eva Nah raised her nephew Shacki from the age of 2, when he lost his parents. "Every day [when] I wake up I cry because I feel bad that Shacki has left me," she says.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 12:01 pm

Sixteen-year-old Shacki Kamara was an accidental victim of Ebola. He didn't die of the virus, but if the virus hadn't struck Liberia, he might still be alive.

Kamara lived in West Point, a shantytown on a peninsula jutting out from the capital city of Monrovia. An Ebola holding center there was attacked on Aug. 16 and patients fled; on Aug. 20, the government imposed a lockdown.

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Goats and Soda
11:46 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Liberia's Information Minister Admits Mistakes, Defends Actions

Information minister Lewis Brown is proud of Liberia's strong response to Ebola but admits, "We think sometimes we could have done better — much quicker — to improve the response time."
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 1:17 pm

For more than an hour, the Liberian government official took questions from NPR. Despite the tense times in his Ebola-stricken country, Lewis Brown, minister of information, cultural affairs and tourism, was welcoming and animated. His mood was upbeat, although not overly optimistic. He spoke with NPR's team in his office, furnished with black patent leather sofas. He was late for his next meeting because of the long interview but graciously dismissed any concerns we expressed about running late.

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Goats and Soda
3:52 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Calm After Ebola Storm: Quarantined Neighborhood Opens Up

A group sings to raise awareness about Ebola in Monrovia's West Point neighborhood.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 9:13 am

Residents in West Point are lined up, waiting impatiently for handouts of beer, parboiled rice and split peas.

The neighborhood around them is bustling with activity. Rows of tiny shacks and little shops are open for business. There's a traffic jam, as bright yellow, three-wheeled rickshaw taxis try to zoom up and down the narrow, main road.

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Crime In The City
3:16 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Ghanaian Mystery Writer Says 'It's Easy To Get Murdered In Accra'

Kwei Quartey sets one of the crime scenes in his second D.I. Dawson book in Agbogbloshie, an Accra slum.
Ofeibea Quist-Arcton NPR

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 9:41 am

White egrets swoop down on the Agbogbloshie Canal and stoop to pick at mounds of filth and trash in search of food. The clogged and stinky waterway dominates Agbogbloshie, the main shantytown in Accra, Ghana's capital city. You wonder how the birds manage to maintain white feathers as they wade in the putrid, muddy water.

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Africa
5:01 pm
Sun August 24, 2014

With Confirmed Cases In Congo, Ebola Now In 4 West African Nations

Originally published on Sun August 24, 2014 8:53 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Africa
4:54 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

West African Doctors Plead For Access To Experimental Ebola Serum

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 9:14 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Goats and Soda
4:51 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Graphic Warnings: Ebola Posters Keep The Virus On People's Minds

How do you prevent the spread of Ebola? Wash your hands, avoid bush meat and don't touch corpses.
Ofeibea Quist-Arcton NPR

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 8:24 pm

The campaign is called "Kick Back Ebola." But the posters pack a punch.

Sierra Leone has reported over 700 suspected Ebola cases, more than any other country this year. To help stop the outbreak, health workers have put up Ebola awareness signs all over Sierra Leone's seaside capital of Freetown.

Posters are pasted on hospital walls and outside clinics. Banners flutter along main streets. The goal of the campaign is to keep the reality of Ebola — and how to detect it — very much alive in people's minds.

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Goats and Soda
5:41 pm
Sun August 10, 2014

Doctor Remembered For Dedication To Fighting Deadly Ebola

Dr. Sheik Humar Khan, who died of the disease he was helping to fight, posed for a picture in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, on June 25.
Umaru Fofana Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 11:12 am

Doctors and health workers in West Africa are especially vulnerable as they continue to battle to control the spread of Ebola, and dozens of them are dying.

The low for Sierra Leone came with the death of the country's campaigning "Ebola doctor," Dr. Sheik Humar Khan. Khan cared for dozens of patients before testing positive for Ebola and dying of the lethal virus late last month.

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Africa
7:47 am
Sun August 10, 2014

Sierra Leone Blockades 2 Districts In Attempt To Contain Ebola

Originally published on Sun August 10, 2014 11:54 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Africa
4:56 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Liberia And Sierra Leone Seal Off Ebola Epicenters With Troops

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 6:43 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Africa
5:11 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Sierra Leone Imposes Drastic Measures To Stop Ebola's Spread

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 10:47 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Africa
5:16 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

What You Need To Know About Sierra Leone And Ebola

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 7:09 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Africa
4:15 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Missing Air Algerie Flight Appears To Have Crashed In Mali

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 6:22 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Africa
6:44 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Young Pakistani Activist Urges Nigeria To Do More For Kidnapped Girls

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:32 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

When more than 250 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Islamist extremists in Nigeria, the president of Nigeria was accused of a slow response. That was three months ago. Now trust between the families of the girls and their government is all but gone. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

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The Salt
4:06 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

U.S. Customs Seize Giant African Snails Bound For Dinner Plates

A single snail from an air cargo shipment of 67 live snails that arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on July 1. Officials said that the 35 pounds of snails arrived from Nigeria along with paperwork stating they were for human consumption.
Greg Bartman AP

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 12:21 pm

Oh no! Snails are getting a bad name in the U.S.

I'm not talking about the delicate garlic-and-butter escargots that the French favor and savor.

It's giant African land snails, also known as Archachatina marginata, banana rasp snails or a number of other names they go by.

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Parallels
4:38 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

In West Africa, Officials Target Ignorance And Fear Over Ebola

Government health workers administer blood tests to check for the Ebola virus in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 25.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 7:04 pm

There's growing concern in West Africa about the spread of the Ebola virus that has killed hundreds of people. Health ministers have formed a regional response, but fear and a lack of knowledge about Ebola threaten their efforts.

Liberian musicians are joining the campaign, taking to song to educate people about the Ebola virus. Their tune is called "Ebola in Town," and warns people to beware of close contact with those who fall ill. The song warns, "Don't touch your friend."

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Africa
4:02 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Extremist Group Claims Credit For Mass Kidnapping In Nigeria

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 6:35 pm

Nigerian Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram claimed credit for abducting more than 200 schoolgirls. The girls remain missing, and parents are pressing the government to find and bring them home. The president's wife has ordered the arrest of the parent who is leading the protests demanding government action.

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