This article appears in the November 2000 edition of the Catholic Medical Quarterly
Sister Miriam Duggan FMSA FRCOG
Sister Miriam is well known to the Guild, as one member spent several months working at a Franciscan Hospital in Uganda in 1987 where she was Medical Superintendent. Recently she hit the headlines (The Times Weekend, Saturday July 29) after she had received an ovation at the Linacre Centre Conference "The Great Jubilee and the Culture of Life" (Queen's College, Cambridge, July 5) when she presented a paper on the work of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. She and her sisters have demonstrated a staggering reduction in the prevalence of AIDS in Uganda, from 28.9% at the height of the Epidemic to 9.8% last year (UN figures). This has been achieved through the "Education for Life" programme devised by one of the sisters. In it young people are challenged to change their behaviour away from nightclubs, discos and raves to an outgoing socially responsible life-style. It is achieved through peer support, song, role play and most importantly by prayer and invocation of the Holy Spirit for strength and self control, in the certain knowledge that any casual sexual contact with an infected person will lead to death.
The Catholic Medical Missionary Society is actively supporting Sister Miriam's work.