A Doctor's Quest: The Struggle for Mother and Child Health Around the Globe by Gretchen RoeddeA Doctor's Quest: The Struggle for Mother and Child Health Around the Globe by Gretchen Roedde

A Doctor's Quest: The Struggle for Mother and Child Health Around the Globe

byGretchen RoeddeForeword byJohn Evans

Paperback | September 8, 2012

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A doctor grapples with the challenges of mother and child health in the developing world.

Recounting medical missions in half of the thirty countries in which she has worked for the past twenty-five years in Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific - from Darfur in Sudan to Papua New Guinea and Bhutan - Dr. Gretchen Roedde shares the grim reality of world politics and bureaucratic red tape on the front lines as a doctor in mother-and-child health and HIV/AIDS.

A Doctor's Quest tells the stories of the hopes of village women struggling to give birth safely, their often corrupt leaders, and countries trying to bring evil despots to justice. The book analyzes the slow progress in global maternal health, contrasting the affluence of the few with the precarious hold on survival of the world's poorest, where economic realities force families to sell young girls into marriage at the age of thirteen to face higher risk of death from early child-bearing.

Gretchen Roedde has worked as a public health doctor in nearly thirty countries in the developing world for the past quarter-century, specializing in mother-and-child health and HIV/AIDS. She worked for the United Nations Population Fund in Ghana and Papua New Guinea to assess and promote progress in maternal health and has also been i...
Title:A Doctor's Quest: The Struggle for Mother and Child Health Around the GlobeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:September 8, 2012Publisher:DundurnLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1459706439

ISBN - 13:9781459706439

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from "Amazing response" I am the author of this book. Iy was #6 on the Canadian bestseller list in the Globe and Mail Sept 1, and was bookmarked with a profile of the cover. This was 1 week before it officially was published. This was on the basis of pre-orders, mostly from United Church Women who had me speak to several groups over the summer to raise money for a maternal health project in Tanzania. The first book launch in my town of New Liskeard at Chat Noir Books sold 140 copies. The book went into a second print Sept. 14. Sept. 29 Catherine Porter profiled the book in the Toronto Star as a news item. I have received emails, phone calls, and invitations to speak. All the author's proceeds are going back into maternal and child health. At a recent booksigning event in Sudbury at Chapters, 2 nurses came up to me saying the books had transformed their career choices, and were looking for opportunities with MSF (Doctors Without Borders). Many churches and NGOs are asking how they can help. It has been a tremendous experience as a writer to have such positive feedback and to be part of raising money as well as awareness for mother and child health work in the third world. Dr. Gretchen Roedde
Date published: 2012-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Travel Literature Classic In this spellbinding book, Britta shares a compelling and moving account of a momentous and transitional time in her life and if you take this journey with her, you will be rewarded. I was tempted to complete it in one sitting, but glad I rationed myself to make it last. It works on many levels: a journal; cultural snapshot; human observation; tutorial and a yearning love story, executed with an assured and delightfully open use of language revealing sincerity and compassion. Visually atmospheric episodes are interwoven in the tale of Britta`s engaging interaction with Bhutan`s people and landscape and a gentle humor underscores the weightier issues she has to contend with as a physiotherapist for Voluntary Service Overseas and in coping with her own, traumatic, health problems. The closing paragraphs of chapters nine and eighteen illustrate the fluency and effortless use of imagery which gives the book its special quality, but there are gems scattered throughout the pages: “…..others are left to silence and destiny” “No immediate intent guides my way” “Somewhere in that contemplation of me versus them, the seed of a feeling of strangeness is planted inside me” And, with a Zen-like insight, two paragraphs (I`ll leave you the pleasure of discovering them) eloquently encapsulate the wisdom and human potential of the Buddhist concept of acceptance. Six weeks later I am still carrying evocative images and impressions from the story. If I was stranded on a desert island this is a book I would want to have with me. Buttertea At Sunrise would translate without difficulty into a screenplay. A film, with sympathetic direction, could be an enchanting and uplifting experience.
Date published: 2009-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book These days the entire planet has been explored. There are no more “off the beaten path” countries. Lonely Planet guides will tell you everything about every little village in obscure countries. The romance and mystery of travel is mostly over. Yet in her book Buttertea at Sunrise, Britta Das takes us to a place few people have ever gone, because “you can’t get there from here.” Her story of a year in Bhutan as a physiotherapist in a remote village is a must read for those interested in that fascinating country. Bhutan may be unique in all the world in that its government has announced a policy of “gross national happiness,” in lieu of the gross national product to which most cultures aspire. Instead of chasing material goods as a path to contentment, the wise rulers of Bhutan have chosen –in an age where the Internet, satellite TV and ATMs are everywhere – to pursue a balanced path of “development” and spiritual fulfillment. Impossible? Maybe, but in Buttertea at Sunrise Britta Das brings to life the day to day existence of villagers in an ordinary small town in a way that shows the importance of such things as education and modern medicine, while emphasizing the ancient values of Buddhism which emphasize that the path to enlightenment and a better life lies in how you treat other people. Her story of a year working in a hospital where poverty is a daily fact of life removes any romantic notions of Bhutan as some sort of Shangri-la, but the story is nicely counterbalanced with the sub-story of her growing romance with one of the doctors at the hospital. Her story is somewhat reminiscent of Jamie Zeppa’s book Beyond the Sky and the Earth, A Journey into Bhutan, about a year teaching in a school in eastern Bhutan, but where Zeppa’s book has something of a sad ending, Buttertea at Sunrise leaves the reader on more of a positive note. The government of Bhutan wisely limits travel to their country only to those travelers who can afford $250 a day for a guide, food and accommodations. Travelers to this Himalayan paradise are not permitted to wander at will, and few can afford to stay for extended periods of time so they get to know the country and its culture. Most travelers are given a choice of cultural, arts or trekking tours, and kept to a strict schedule that does not allow time to build relationships with the local people. Most reports from this most mysterious of countries are therefore brief and don’t bring the culture and the people alive. Buttertea at Sunrise does both, and its an interesting personal story as well. The only problem with the book is that it leaves you longing for more. Perhaps a sequel will be in the offing sometime in the future.
Date published: 2009-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Experiences in a remote Himalayan kingdom Britta Das has written a wonderful and honest account of her year working at a small hospital in Eastern Bhutan. As a physiotherapist, she writes from a unique perspective. She was hired to run the clinic, and to train technicians, but arrives to find no equipment. Her living conditions are sparse, and to add to her difficulties, she arrives during the monsoon season. She takes up the challenge, learning the language as she goes. Slowly she makes progress, accepts the hospitality of the Bhutanese people, and grows to love the country. Many of her patients had been disabled for years, with no access to treatment. Using her initiative and local materials, her work helps them gain new mobility, although she is realistic about her efforts. Her book is full of lively descriptions of all the people she meets as she explores the countryside. It captures the spirit of Bhutan as she discovers the culture of this little known Buddhist country. Adding to her experiences is her friendship with a doctor, two foreigners working together. When she leaves Bhutan and returns to Canada, it is with a real feeling of loss. I spent time in Bhutan a few years before Britta, travelling across the country, being invited into homes, schools and health centres. I have read Buttertea at Sunrise twice, and enjoyed every page. It brought back great memories, and made me long to go back. I would highly recommend this book to those who know Bhutan or plan to visit the country, to people thinking of working abroad, and to anyone who appreciates a good travel book!
Date published: 2009-03-08

Table of Contents



Chapter One - I am Poor
(Uganda, Sudan)

Chapter Two - I Do Not Have the Freedom That You Have as a Woman
(Bangladesh, Nepal, Ghana)

Chapter Three - One Day My Child Was Playing, the Next Day He Had Died
(Bangladesh, Ghana, Ethiopia)

Chapter Four - I Have No Education
(China, Botswana, Uganda)

Chapter Five - Why are Women Dying, Giving Life?
(Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Zambia, Tanzania, Papua
New Guinea)

Chapter Six - I am Tired of Seeing HIV as the Price of Wealth
(Tanzania, Papua New Guinea)

Chapter Seven - Where Are Our Leaders? Why Have They Forgotten Us?
(Malawi, Papua New Guinea, Ghana, Global)

Chapter Eight - We Are Still Waiting

(Papua New Guinea)

White Mud Letter to a Dear Friend
(Papua New Guinea)


Author's Biography

Editorial Reviews

A Doctor's Quest is an engaging and well-written and sometimes even humorous read that offers DFATD employees a different perspective on the challenges faced by health care workers trying to make a difference in the MNCH field. - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFATD) newsletter