Our Kind of People: A Continent's Challenge, a Country's Hope

Our Kind of People: A Continent's Challenge, A Country's Hope - Uzodinma Iweala The challenge with writing a medical ethnography is providing the right balance of statistical information and anecdotes/interviews that help put a face on the subject disease. Nigerian physician Uzodinma Iweala does just that with this book."Our Kind of People" examines the sub-Saharan Africa HIV/AIDS epidemic through the eyes of Iweala's countrymen. Not only does he interview physicians and other caregivers; he also interviews activists (some of whom are patients themselves), patients and family members. It is their stories, along with the statistics (for example, of the 33.4 million cases of HIV/AIDS worldwide, 28.2 million of them are in sub-Saharan Africa), that put the face on the disease.Iweala examines cultural attitudes that lead to the spread of the disease (much like in the USA until Rock Hudson's death, HIV/AIDS in Nigeria was ignored or thought of as something that "our kind of people" don't get until the death of popular Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti), as well as the challenges to treatment (expensive drugs, in a country where most people earn less than $2 US per day) and more. He also examines the gap between caring for those already infected and trying to prevent the further spread.As much as you would think that this might be a depressing book, it is actually an uplifting and intelligent look at people who are living with HIV/AIDS. It belongs on the shelf next to Randy Shilts' "And The Band Played On" as one of the most important medical ethnographies of our time.