Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Personal views

Far, far away

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 15 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:195
  1. John Wright, consultant in clinical epidemiology and public health
  1. Bradford

    The town still had that Wild West frontier look to it. One main street of heat and dust. Nothing had really changed. Only the hedgerows of advertising hoardings that had sprung from the red earth. The growth industry—funeral parlours. One business was doing well, then.

    It was four years since my last visit—my third in a decade to where I had once learnt so much of my medicine and healing. It all seemed so familiar, so quickly.

    One third of the adult population is infected with HIV

    The hospital was swollen. Just too many patients to squeeze into ancient beds and along dark corridors. There had been a veranda to which all the wards joined. During the day the children would escape their cramped prison and play hide and seek, scampering between the legs of the women with babies on their backs; the laughter from both groups melting together in the African sun. It had been bricked in now. Rows …

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