Monday, August 31, 2009

New Book: Strength in What Remains

Many of you first learned about Partners in Health by reading Kidder's bestseller about Paul Farmer and the founding of Partners In Health, Mountains Beyond Mountains. Today, Random House is publishing not one but two works by Tracy Kidder--his powerful new book, Strength in What Remains; and a new, deluxe paperback edition of Mountains Beyond Mountains that features an epilogue updating the story of PIH through early 2009.

Strength in What Remains tells the riveting true story of Deo, a young man from the mountains of Burundi in East Africa. After a hairsbreadth escape from death and a horrifying journey on foot through Burundi and Rwanda-two countries wracked by genocide and civil war--Deo landed in New York City, penniless, speaking almost no English, and living homeless in Central Park. From there, the generosity of people he met and (mostly) his own indomitable determination took him to Columbia University and later to Harvard--where he found work, friendship and a sense of common mission with Paul Farmer and his colleagues at Partners In Health--and, finally, back to Burundi to start a community health project modeled very much along the lines of those he had seen and helped at PIH.

For people who care about global health and social justice, both of these books are must reads. The same goes for people who simply enjoy outstanding writing that opens their eyes, their hearts, and their minds. That's Tracy Kidder's specialty. As Susan Salter Reynolds of the Los Angeles Times wrote in one of many rave reviews and feature articles that have appeared about Strength in What Remains, "With his most recent book, he helps the reader walk in the subject's shoes."

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Dengue Outbreak in Punjab

A potential dengue outbreak looms in Ludhiana. Dengue, an infectious disease caused by a virus, can be transmitted via mosquito bites. Cases of gastroenteritis were found first among the community, followed by cases of cholera. The fear of a dengue outbreak is now of concern in the region.
"As for gastroenteritis, illegal water connections in vehras of various areas of the city inhabited mainly by migrant population are the root cause of the outbreaks. It has been taking a toll on the lives of migrant population who live in poor hygienic conditions prevailing in their surroundings," says Dr SS Dhir, district health officer... "We have filed cases against six persons in connection with illegal water connections in the vehras of Punjabi Bagh where habitants fell sick with gastro. Besides, we have constituted a 40-member team which would be responsible for creating awareness in four MC zones and will conduct house to house visits in the disease-prone areas," Dr Charanjeet said.