Lifeblood: How To Change The World, One Dead Mosquito At A Time
By: Alex Perry
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One day in 2006, the rich, well connected but very private philanthropist Ray Chambers flicked through the holiday snaps of his friend, the development economist Jeffrey Sachs, and remarked on the placid...Read more
One day in 2006, the rich, well connected but very private philanthropist Ray Chambers flicked through the holiday snaps of his friend, the development economist Jeffrey Sachs, and remarked on the placid beauty of a group of sleeping Malawian children. 'They're not sleeping,' Sachs tells a shocked Chambers. 'They're in malarial comas.' A few days later, they were all dead. So begins Chambers' mission to eradicate a disease that has haunted mankind since before medicine began, still infects half a billion people a year, and kills a million of them. The campaign draws in presidents, celebrities, scientists and enormous funding and becomes a stunning success, saving millions of lives and propelling Africa towards prosperity. And by replacing traditional ideas of assistance with business acumen and hustle, Chambers upturns the whole notion of aid, forging a new path not just for the developing world but for global business, religion and even celebrity.
As he follows three years of the campaign, award-winning journalist Alex Perry takes the reader across Africa, from a terrifying visit to a Ugandan town that is the most malarial on earth to a star-studded World Cup concert, encountering jungle scientists, fugitive guerrillas, presidents, religious leaders and icons of the global aid industry. In Lifeblood, he weaves together science and history with on-the-ground reporting and a riveting expose of aid as he documents this race against time. The result is a thrilling and all-too-rare tale of humanitarian triumph that has profound implications for how to build a better world.
About the author: Alex Perry
'This little gem of a book heartens the reader by showing how eagerly an array of American billionaires, including Bill Gates and the New Jersey investor Ray Chambers (the book's protagonist), are...Read more
'This little gem of a book heartens the reader by showing how eagerly an array of American billionaires, including Bill Gates and the New Jersey investor Ray Chambers (the book's protagonist), are using concepts of efficient management to improve the rest of the world. Lifeblood nominally chronicles the global effort to eradicate malaria, but it is really about changes that Mr. Chambers, Mr. Gates and others are bringing to the chronically mismanaged system of foreign aid, especially in Africa. - Lifeblood has an important story to tell, and Mr. Perry tells it with precision and gusto. The book opens and closes with a visit to Apac, a Ugandan village at the heart of "the most malarious place on earth," as Mr. Perry calls it. Before the Chambers-led drive, Apac was a ghost town, and the only residents on its streets, the book says, were three naked, staggering "zombies" suffering from malarial brain damage. Afterward, well, let us just say the transformation is as dramatic as anything you will read in fiction.' - The New York Times 'Lifeblood is a sweeping epic of a book. With graphic and chilling detail, Alex Perry shows us both the horrors of this lethal disease and that it can be beaten. This is imperative reading for anyone involved in health or international development.' - Humphrey Hawksley, BBC Foreign Correspondent 'With this book, Alex Perry confirms his reputation as one of the finest journalists working in Africa today. Lifeblood is intrepid, engaging, incisive, and immensely readable.' - Mark Gevisser, author of A Legacy of Liberation: Thabo Mbeki and the Future of the South African Dream. 'A fascinating account of that lamentably rare phenomenon - a successful aid programme.' - Peter Godwin, author of The Fear: The Last Days of Robert Mugabe. 'Alex Perry has written a hugely compelling account of one of the epic public health battles of our time. Lifeblood is brightly illuminated by startling details from the author's research. It is also refreshingly free of the cliches that mar so much writing by Europeans about Africa.' - Alec Russell, Comment and Analysis Editor of the Financial Times.