Monday, July 25, 2011

The zombie curse

The Zombie Curse: A Doctor's 25-year Journey Into the Heart of the AIDS Epidemic in Haiti may be a slightly misnamed book, but that does not take away from the power of the story.  Arthur Fournier first stumbled across AIDS in Miami when it was still believed to be a disease of gay men.  Here's the trouble.  Fournier saw the disease striking men, women, and children.  The common denominator he saw in the group he worked with was that they were immigrants from Haiti. 
Eventually Fournier realized that the risk factor for AIDS in his patients was a lack of resources, not the fact that they were Haitian.  Thus began his crusade to bring healthcare to Haiti.  That's really what this book is about. 
For me, the most heart-wrenching part of the book was the sense of hope and accomplishment expressed by Fournier at the end.  He finishes this story with a sense that huge improvements have been made, that people's lives are better.  That was before the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010.  I can only imagine the impact of that earthquake on the fragile healthcare system set up by Fournier and his colleagues.     

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