August 13th 2005

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: BRAZIL: The slippery road to communist dictatorship

EDITORIAL: Australia's clean, green image at risk

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Howard Government's industrial relations pain

SCHOOLS: Subverting the English curriculum

NATIONAL SECURITY: Re-thinking Australia's response to terrorism

ECONOMICS: Ethanol and the national interest

CONSTITUTION: What is wrong with a Bill of Rights?

FAMILY LAW: Paternity fraud penalises the innocent

UNITED STATES: John G. Roberts and the US Supreme Court

STRAWS IN THE WIND: How to lose with a royal flush / Hard cases / Another 'bottom of the harbour' scheme? / Waste disposal

CINEMA: 'Vigilante justice' and movie culture

FORTHCOMING TOUR: The 'Mother Teresa of Africa' to tour Australia

Better way to help African poor (letter)

Clinical judgement on treatment of dying (letter)

Serious omission (letter)


BOOKS: NED KELLY'S LAST DAYS: Setting the record straight on the death of an outlaw

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The 'Mother Teresa of Africa' to tour Australia

by Victor Sirl

News Weekly, August 13, 2005
Sister Mirian Duggan, of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa, was responsible for setting up clinics and promoting a behaviour-change program which contributed to the AIDS rates in Uganda falling dramatically, reports Victor Sirl. She will be visiting the capital cities of all Australia's mainland states in September.

Out of Africa comes a story of faith, hope and courage. Sister Miriam Duggan, of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa, was the superintendent of the Kampala hospital in Uganda when the AIDS pandemic hit that country.

She responded by setting up clinics, home visitations for the dying and promoting a programme called Education for Life: A Behaviour Change Process. This contributed to the AIDS rates in Uganda falling dramatically.

In 2002, at the Linacre Conference, Sr Duggan was able to quote official United Nations figures which revealed that the rate of AIDS infection in Uganda had plummeted from a high of 28.9 per cent to only 9.8 per cent of the population.

The Franciscan nuns had played their part in this. One of them, Sr Lawlor, had devised the successful behaviour change program, with its strong focus on sexual abstinence before marriage and faithfulness during it.

But here in Australian, sometimes inexplicably even in Catholic circles, we often hear the familiar refrain that the Catholic Church and its moral teachings are a major cause of the spread of AIDS in Africa owing to the church's antagonism towards the use of condoms.

Therefore, when, Sr Duggan - who is now Congregational Leader for the Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa - tours Australia in September, speaking to the media, politicians and the general public, she will be both a missionary and a myth-buster.

Sr Miriam Duggan has been dubbed in one media report as "Ireland's Mother Teresa", but she is also a team leader of a number of compassionate women dedicated to tirelessly assisting the marginalised and underprivileged of Africa.

Sr Duggan will be visiting the capital cities of all Australia's mainland states in September. For further details of when and where one can hear this woman's remarkable, true story, News Weekly supporters should contact the local state office of the National Civic Council (NCC) or the Australian Family Association (AFA).

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