Against the Odds: Health & Hope in South Africa: The story of Medical Education for South African Blacks (MESAB)

Herb Kaiser

Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013
ISBN 10: 1481896466 / ISBN 13: 9781481896467
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Synopsis: This book is a history of Medical Education for South African Blacks (MESAB), a non-profit organization that operated from 1985 to 2007. It chronicles the turbulent events and politics that surrounded the creation and operation of the NGO, along with the personalities and organizations that helped or hindered it along the way. A collaborative effort by Americans and South Africans, MESAB supported the training of black South Africans in the health professions, with the aim of helping to reverse the dire consequences of South Africa's apartheid policies. At the time of MESAB's founding, apartheid dictated separate health facilities for blacks, which were underfunded, underequipped, and understaffed by contrast to the lavish facilities provided to whites. Inferior health care for blacks resulted in high infant and child mortality, shorter life expectancy, and the prevalence of TB and other preventable diseases that had long since been eliminated in the white population. And in a population of over 20 million blacks, there were fewer than 350 black doctors. Over the course of two decades, MESAB helped some 10,000 blacks become health professionals or enhance their skills. It also promoted palliative care training of caregivers for the millions of black South Africans stricken by the HIV/AIDS pandemic sweeping South Africa. Written by MESAB’s founders, Herb and Joy Kaiser, the book does not shirk from recounting the structural and management problems that kept MESAB from achieving its full potential, carefully weighing its successes against its failures. Their account may help illuminate the practical path that other idealists are pursuing at the same time as showing that however hard the struggle you can make a lasting difference. All proceeds from this book will be donated to the UmThombo Foundation for Youth Development.

About the Author: Herb and Joy Kaiser met as students at Swarthmore College and were married in 1949. They spent the next 32 years in the US Foreign Service, serving at posts in Scotland, Yugoslavia, Austria, Poland, Romania, and South Africa. After Herb’s retirement from the Foreign Service in 1983, they turned their attention to the problems of apartheid South Africa. Personal experience had made them aware of the unconscionable disparity in the health care available to whites and blacks. They therefore launched Medical Education for South African Blacks (MESAB) in 1985 to train black health professionals. They directed the organization in Washington, D.C. until their resignation in 1993 when they moved to California. They continued as members of the Board and as active fundraisers until 2007 when the organization closed operations.

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Title: Against the Odds: Health & Hope in South ...
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: 2013
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Good

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