Nobody Dies Anymore vol. 2
It is about the colonial apartheid system as it then operated, the convulsions that accompanied its destructions and the ensuing struggle to create what had not been there before.
The origins of the book lie in the Children’s ward of what was then the Llewellyn Hospital in Kitwe, where hundreds of children died every year, the recorded casualties of a desperate battle against history’s nature and the implications of being black in Africa. It is a personal account written by the doctor who formulated the ideals behind the projects and the philosophy they were meant to sustain.
A kind of Odyssey passing through the gates of imperial security into the realm of demands with no known cultural response, it is a journey from which there is no return and a task with no hope of accomplishment in the lifetime of a man.
Nobody Dies Anymore vol.1 & 2
An African villager on the Zambian Plateau made the remark that inspired the title of this book. He was describing the impact of western medicine on a community where it was previously unknown.
In 1964 the United States Government, the Government of the Irish Republic and the Zambian Government negotiated the construction and staffing of a children’s hospital on the Copperbelt, probably the richest mineral area in the world.
The three presidents, Kaunda, Johnson and De Valera were all personally involved in the project associated with the project, a Flying Doctor Service was to be established, designed to construct and operate airfields and clinics in the remote and rural areas of Zambia.
Penicillin and chloroquine were two of the most formidable motivators for development in Africa. The advantages they produced, life instead of death, redefined the obligations of society and they had, by themselves, the capacity to revolutionise the continent.
About the Author
Jim was born in 1930 in Oldham, Lancashire-at that time at the centre of England’s thriving cotton industry. His father was later to become part owner of a Mill. Educated at Xavarian college Manchester he excelled at English and Physics. In the post war era National Service was compulsory and Jim joined the RAF, only to be discharged after 3 months because of a chronic lung condition (bronchiectasis) the result of multiple childhood chest infections.
Unsure where his future lay he was encouraged to follow his father in the cotton trade, initially gaining experience by working as a weaver in the mill. After a year he decided to become a doctor. At Huddersfield Technical College he completed the subjects required for entrance into medical school. It was there he showed his leadership skills and became President of the Students Union. In 1953 he went to St Andrews University to study medicine, where he met Meg Arrowsmith, a fellow medical student. They were engaged but did not marry until 1959, in Jim’s final year. He was a high-profile student and became President of the Students Union, President of the Medical Society and Editor of the University Newspaper. Jim was by personality type a ‘world improver’ and his whole life was based on improving the circumstances in which he found himself so that other people would benefit. He had little regard for his own welfare and gave his all to the project in hand.
Newly married Jim and Meg spent a year in USA, working at the Miriam Hospital Providence, Rhode Island. Their plan was to then spend a year in a developing country and were accepted by the colonial territory of Northern Rhodesia to work in the hospital in Kitwe. That year extended to a decade. In1961 the country was in a state of Pre Independence unrest. Jim and Meg were among the few Europeans who supported the African move towards Independence and were shocked by the racial discrimination even in the hospitals. Through looking after their children Jim got to know the leaders of the Independence movement, including Kenneth Kaunda who in 1964 became the founding father and first President of Zambia.
It was difficult to returning to the UK 1970. In ten years, Jim had started Zambia’s first Children’s Hospital, established the Zambian Flying Doctor Service and become very close to the people of Zambia. Between them the couple had two significant papers on paediatrics published in the Lancet. On their return to their home country, they lived in North Yorkshire. Jim wrote of his experiences and they both did some general practice. He tried unsuccessfully to introduce the Zambian villagers’ concept of consensus to British Industry. The last four decades were spent in Australia, working in Apollo Bay, a fairly remote coastal town in Victoria. For the first 20 years they were the only doctors.
Again, Jim had an enormous impact on the area — a characteristic of his whole life.
He died in Apollo Bay in 2016.