Marion McNabb speaks at the “Community First in Cannabis!” event on Feb. 26. PHOTO COURTESY MARION MCNABB
Dr. Marion McNabb met Doubt at an orphanage in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Named for his uncertain chance of survival, Doubt was HIV positive, and died when he was just 7 years old. Without the resources to even diagnose, let alone treat HIV, the nuns at the orphanage were helpless to save him. His twin brother, Definite, lived — perfectly healthy.
Moved by Doubt’s story, McNabb said her experience in Zimbabwe kick-started a 15-year public health career in Africa, focused on bringing health care to those in poverty.
“I was just heartbroken by the fact that I knew in my country there were tests and medications available, and these children weren’t even able to have the awareness that they actually had HIV,” McNabb said.
After graduating from St. Louis University in 2003, McNabb got an opportunity working for the Center for Disease Control in Ethiopia. There, she managed the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a U.S.-funded HIV treatment program.
“It was an incredible experience watching a country go from having no guidelines in place for HIV, not even testing, to watching a national government integrate a new health care system,” McNabb said.
But after the 2016 election, McNabb said her career in Africa came grinding