Paul Farmer has battled AIDS in rural Haiti and deadly strains of
drug-resistant tuberculosis in the slums of Peru. A
physician-anthropologist with more than fifteen years in the field,
Farmer writes from the front lines of the war against these modern
plagues and shows why, even more than those of history, they target
the poor. This "peculiarly modern inequality" that permeates AIDS,
TB, malaria, and typhoid in the modern world, and that feeds
emerging (or re-emerging) infectious diseases such as Ebola and
cholera, is laid bare in Farmer's harrowing stories of sickness and
suffering. Challenging the accepted methodologies of epidemiology
and international health, he points out that most current
explanatory strategies, from "cost-effectiveness" to patient
"noncompliance," inevitably lead to blaming the victims. In
reality, larger forces, global as well as local, determine why some
people are sick and others are shielded from risk. Yet this moving
account is far from a hopeless inventory of insoluble problems.
Farmer writes of what can be done in the face of seemingly
overwhelming odds, by physicians determined to treat those in need.
Infections and Inequalities weds meticulous scholarship
with a passion for solutions-remedies for the plagues of the poor
and the social maladies that have sustained them.
Subjects: Health Sciences
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