Archive - April 1, 2013

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A Writer Writes: Apocalypse Then, Part I
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Fifty years ago, Shriver wanted 500 doctors for universal health education! What happened?

A Writer Writes: Apocalypse Then, Part I

Apocalypse Then by Bob Criso (Nigeria & Somalia 1966–68) • Part I Ishiagu: July, 1967 EAGER FOR NEWS OF THE WAR, I huddled with my students many evenings around a transistor radio and a kerosene lamp listening to Radio Enugu. Refugees were returning from the North with stories of Igbos being hacked into pieces, pregnant women being cut open and children screaming inside burning homes. There was a report on the radio about a train filled with bloody body parts that were sent down from the North “as a warning.” I was skeptical about that one until I saw a woman returning to the village carrying the head of a man. She said she had retrieved it from the train. Several weeks earlier, Ruth Olsen, the Nigeria Peace Corps Director in the East, had given me a van as part of an emergency evacuation plan. I was supposed to pick . . .

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Fifty years ago, Shriver wanted 500 doctors for universal health education! What happened?

Vietnam. In a remarkable speech to the Albert Einstein School of Medicine on November 15, 1964, Sargent Shriver called for universal medical education, manned, in part by Peace Corps Volunteer doctors. Read the entire impassioned  speech at Peace Corps’ greatly expanded digital library: http://collection.peacecorps.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/p9009coll13/id/12/rec/3 Shriver said: “We need a new idea and a new program…The answer lies in universal health education, with effective medical programs, medical centers and medical personnel serving as the central source for this public education.  Just as the Peace Corps has sent thousands of teachers overseas to help developing nations achieve universal school education, so now we must help them make universal health education a reality.” If this program sounds familiar, it is exactly what is now being developed, fifty years later. by a contract between Global Health Volunteers and Peace Corps Response. There are striking similarities between the proposals, separated by fifty years. Shriver explained . . .

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