Must Read: “One Man’s Quest to Cure the World”

By Malena Amusa May 14, 2007

The Chicago Tribune on Saturday published a story about a remarkable Black doctor who is set to eradicate Guinea Worm disease whose victims are left to pull inches-long worms out from bursting blisters.

This is the story of one man’s quest to cure the world, the story of a black man who grew up in the segregated South with the dream of becoming a doctor and, as he puts it, "a deep determination to show the world what I could do." Determination drove him to medical school at the University of Chicago, where he was the only African-American student in his class, and later to the pinnacle of the country’s public health system, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he became acting director. Now it compels him to the sun-scorched villages of Africa, where he wages his war on worms.

With video and pictures, this piece is quite moving. It shows many things: how the fight for clean water in developing countries is truly one we all should be rallying behind and also how the racially oppressive South was as much of a deterrent to progress as a site of determination and overcoming.