Last fall, we were thrilled to publish the first book of our new Critical Global Health series, Second Chances: Surviving Aids in Uganda, edited by Susan Reynolds Whyte. The book was celebrated at a launch in Uganda in February, at Makerere University in Kampala. Four prominent Ugandans discussed the book. All have been and continue to be major players in shaping the response to AIDS in the country.
In their remarks they touched on three themes:
As clinicians, they found that the book gave them understanding of their patients as people.
Peter Mugyenyi, Director, Joint Clinical Research Centre, a leading authority on the treatment of AIDS in Africa:
“As a person who was involved in access to ARV drugs in this country, I found this story very moving. Any health care provider who reads this book, and listens—it is like listening to people talking to you, that’s how well it is written—your practice will never be the same…I looked at this book and I started reflecting on what sort of services we provide to patients. When you read this book your vision of such issues will never quite be the same.
Through the stories that these patients told, I could see you the interviewers. I saw how you felt for the study participants you looked after and followed up. I saw how you got involved, and then in the end you told a moving story.”
Harriet Mayanja, Dean, School of Medicine, and former Head of the Department of Internal Medicine, treating AIDS patients at Mulago, the national referral hospital:
“This book is not only second chances for the people they write about. It is also second chances for us to look at disease and people who are unwell as individual human beings with families, with homes, with worries, with fears as opposed to cases and statistics.”