Paul Farmer, author of the forthcoming Partner to the Poor, among other books, is committed to restoring health, hope, and social justice to people in the world’s poorest areas. His work as a physician and co-founder of the organization Partners in Health (PIH) is rooted in the conviction that good health is not a privilege, but a basic human right that is often denied to the very poor.
To ensure this essential freedom, PIH addresses poverty as well as illness. In destitute areas from rural Haiti to Russia and Rwanda, PIH’s community-based model provides medical care, employs community health workers, and targets poverty as a main cause of poor health. By working to meet people’s basic needs as well as treating the sick, this approach saves lives while improving the overall level of health and opportunity in the area.
NOW on PBS recently profiled health care in Rwanda, where PIH, the Rwandan government, and community health workers are working to restore health, vitality, and the right to a healthy life. This partnership is based in solidarity: “Whatever it takes,” says the PIH vision, “Just as we would do if a member of our own family—or we ourselves—were ill.”