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Saturday Is for Funeralsby Unity Dow
Synopses & Reviews
In the year 2000 the World Health Organization estimated that 85 percent of fifteen-year-olds in Botswana would eventually die of AIDS. In Saturday Is for Funerals we learn why that won't happen.
Unity Dow and Max Essex tell the true story of lives ravaged by AIDS—of orphans, bereaved parents, and widows; of families who devote most Saturdays to the burial of relatives and friends. We witness the actions of community leaders, medical professionals, research scientists, and educators of all types to see how an unprecedented epidemic of death and destruction is being stopped in its tracks.
This book describes how a country responded in a time of crisis. In the true-life stories of loss and quiet heroism, activism and scientific initiatives, we learn of new techniques that dramatically reduce rates of transmission from mother to child, new therapies that can save lives of many infected with AIDS, and intricate knowledge about the spread of HIV, as well as issues of confidentiality, distributive justice, and human rights. The experiences of Botswana offer practical lessons along with the critical element of hope.
Book News Annotation:
Dow, a judge of the Interim Constitutional Court of Kenya and a novelist joins with Essex, an AIDS researcher and professor of health sciences at Harvard, in collaboration with hundreds of Botswana citizens to tell the story of the effect of AIDS in that country. Each chapter is a personal story of one victim and his or her family into which is woven an aspect of the history of the disease and the fight against it. The stories are often poignant, demonstrating how families have been destroyed and villages come together in the face of overwhelming illness and loss. Interwoven with the stories of individuals is an explanation of local customs and traditions that give emotional support to the sufferers. The problem of negative Western influence is also mentioned, from the arrogant supposition that Africans were too ignorant to take pills on schedule to the realization that the practice of male circumcision, abandoned due to pressure from Christian missionaries, helps to reduce the spread of the disease. The storytelling is lyrical and the data is presented in a clear, understandable prose that makes the individual experiences part of a human tragedy that affects us all. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Unity Dow is a practicing lawyer in Botswana and the author of four novels. She was formerly a judge with both the Botswana High Court and The Interim Constitutional Court of Kenya.
Max Essex is Lasker Professor of Health Sciences at Harvard University and has been involved in AIDS research from the earliest days of the U.S. epidemic in 1982.
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Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » AIDS