On the 14th of September 2023 Prof Anne Merriman’s autobiography was launched during the opening ceremony at the 4th Uganda Conference on Cancer and Palliative Care held at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala. At the launch, Prof. Anne said that whilst the book talks about her life, all that has been achieved has been done so in collaboration and with the support of the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders. She also said that her focus is on the future and not the past and called upon everyone for further action to strengthen both cancer and palliative care services in Uganda.
The book was launched as part of the celebrations to mark the 30 years anniversary of when she came to Uganda and started the first specialist palliative care service. Prior to the launch delegates heard from Rose Kiwanuka, as she shared the journey towards reducing health-related suffering in Uganda, thanking all those who have been part of that journey. This was followed by a dance performance from ‘Dance with Valentino’ and the team from Hospice Africa Uganda depicting the 30-year journey of palliative care in Uganda.
A delegation of colleagues and friends, led by Mr. Connor McCann who was representing the Irish Ambassador to Uganda, helped launch Prof Anne’s book at the conference, and the celebrations continued with the help of Queen Sylvia Nagginda, Nnaabagereka Buganda Kingdom at the 30th celebrations the following weekend on 23rd September 2023. The book takes us through the journey of Prof. Anne’s life from a wild undisciplined schoolgirl drawn to the life of God and then against all odds given the chance to become a doctor through her time as a nun with the Medical Missionaries of Mary, her time in the UK, Nigeria, Singapore, Kenya and finally Uganda as she supports the development of palliative care around the world.
“Every person has a calling from deep within if they listen. Every person must live their own hero’s journey if they are to fulfil it. Anne Merriman’s life shines a beacon of light on how everyone can walk their own true path. Born and raised in Liverpool during World War II, Anne felt called to be a nun and joined the Medical Missionaries of Mary. After becoming a doctor and spending twenty years providing medical service to the less fortunate in Nigeria, Anne left the order and returned to the world as a layperson. Her journey had twists and turns, ups and downs, friends and enemies, and love and heartbreak. Her compassion for the less fortunate and suffering eventually led her into palliative and hospice care. Anne became an important palliative care pioneer in Singapore and sub-Saharan Africa, receiving a Nobel Peace Prize Nomination and founding a model of palliative care for all of Africa, Hospice Africa Uganda. Anne Merriman’s epic adventures, forbidden love, outlandish flair, fiery nature, and Godly pursuits will have the reader laughing and crying, whilst also finding pearls of wisdom that only the lens of hindsight can provide.”
For all of us who know Anne personally, those who have heard of her work in palliative care, and even those who have not yet heard of her – this book is definitely worth a read. As someone who has known and worked with Anne for over 20 years, I found this a fascinating read – learning so much about her journey, the ups, and the downs, but ultimately following her journey and God’s call.
You can purchase a copy of Prof Anne’s book from Hospice Africa Uganda or online here.