For 20 years, Partners in Health has provided free medical services to the poorest communities around the world, while lobbying developed nations for more equitable access to medication and technology. Their website states, “Our mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care.”
Millions of people are dying of treatable, preventable diseases such as malaria, AIDS and TB because medications are unaffordable or countries lack the infrastructure for traditional means of foreign-aid delivery to be effective. PIH’s innovative “community-based care” shows dramatic results where other programs have failed. Their aid workers make a hands-on, intensive personal commitment to their patients, helping them adhere to treatment regimens and addressing other non-medical problems that interfere with their care. For PIH, fighting disease in poor communities involves larger issues of social justice, including access to education, clean water, shelter, sanitation, and economic opportunities.
Some inspiring stories from their website:
Profile: Haitian AIDS patient delivers treatment and truth
More than 13 years ago, Denizard Wilson was diagnosed with AIDS. Soon he was too sick to continue working in Port-au-Prince, too poor to afford medical care, fearful that time was running out. Then he moved back to his hometown in the Central Plateau and went to PIH for treatment. “Since I have been with PIH, I have never been sick again,” he says today.
A doctor’s journal: bringing hope to patients in LesothoMathabo Posholi was too weak to sit up in bed when Dr. Jonas Rigodon first visited her. Eight months later, she is up and about and eager “to talk to people who have HIV and tell them that they have to take their medicine.”
To donate to their 20th anniversary appeal, click here.
I also recommend Tracy Kidder’s book about PIH founder Dr. Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains.