Global Service Projects We Love: Partners In Health
“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that’s wrong with the world.”—Dr. Paul Farmer
By now you may be feeling overwhelmed by the state of the world. The last year has been full of environmental chaos, political turmoil, and considerable anxiety.
As an antidote to our collective sense of overwhelm, we look to global service projects that are working to restore justice and balance on micro and macro levels. Today we feature Partners In Health, a NGO working tirelessly to set up healthcare systems for communities in need. Committed for the long haul, Partners In Health stays in the communities they serve until their systems become self-sustaining.
We cannot talk about Partners in Health without highlighting its founder, Dr. Paul Farmer. Farmer is considered something of a superhero in the global health world; to learn more, look to Tracy Kidder’s biography, Mountains Beyond Mountains, which illustrates his no-nonsense perseverance and commitment. Focusing on Farmer’s work in Haiti, Kidder relates how the doctor would walk seven miles each way through rural countryside to reach two families of patients. According to Farmer, “The only real nation is humanity.”
The team at PHI is still baffled at the staggering disparity they find in their work. According to Dr. Salmaan Keshavjee, PIH’s senior TB specialist and director of Harvard Medical School’s Center for Global Health:
“Last year, 9 million people became sick with TB. That’s more than the entire population of New York City falling ill with a disease that we have largely been able to cure since 1947.”
Despite the devastating reality they face, PIH responds to these challenges with skillful and focused action; they set up programs to fight preventable infectious diseases and focus on children’s and maternal health, mental health, and healthcare for the poor with cancer and chronic illness.
“Human beings to me are not more or less human depending on the nation state in which they were born. I want everyone to have access to health care.”—Dr. Joia Mukherjee, PIH’s chief medical officer
The vision of global health is truly global. This include securing healthcare for underserved poor populations in wealthy nations; PIH serves Native Americans struggling with some of the world’s worst health outcomes in the United States. Rather than viewing the world through the lens of state and country lines, PIH is guided by socio-economic factors and a belief in human equality. They see our common humanity rather than focusing on what separates us from each other.
Over the course of the past 30 years, PIH has been instrumental in halting the spread of infectious diseases; saving hundreds of thousands of lives; and educating and training medical professionals all around the world to serve the poor and build solidarity. What started out as a few small clinics in Haiti has expanded capacity to directly serve 2.5 million people in 10 countries.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Make a donation. 92% of your gift goes straight to those in need. Give back today.
Start a fundraising campaign. Give back on your birthday, wedding, or host an athletic event. Learn more.
Join a team, host an event, or start a local chapter with PIH Engage. Build community.
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