Monday, January 18, 2010

Paul Farmer's Stand With Haiti

American Paul Farmer, M.D., is a Deputy United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti and the Presley Professor and Chair of Harvard Medical School's Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. An expert in infectious diseases, as well as a teacher, researcher, and clinician, Farmer has worked in Haiti for years.

. . . in Farmer, I'd been offered another way of thinking 
about a place like Haiti. . . .
~ Writer Tracy Kidder

The story of Farmer's devotion and service to Haiti is told beautifully in Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World (2004; paper, 2009). While still a medical student at Harvard, Farmer set up in Haiti's central plateau a complex of public health care facilities, Zanmi Lasante. Farmer's endeavor defied the odds of failure, as Kidder recounts in Mountains Beyond Mountains, and today it continues against all odds to respond to the many needs of Haiti's desperately poor population. It has become the largest health care provider in the country.

To support Lasante, a Boston philanthropist provided more than two decades ago $1 million to establish Farmer's nonprofit organization Partners in Health. (The descriptions of Farmer's talents at persuading and coaxing money for his cause make for enjoyable reading in Kidder's book.)

God gives everyone a gift
and his gift is healing.
~ Haitian to Kidder

PIH delivers medical care in destitute communities in Haiti and nine other countries (including some of the poorest areas in the United States). Based in Boston, it has more than 11,000 employees, including doctors, nurses, and community health workers. Many of those employed are locals (nationals) who provide care in their own communities. PIH also works to uncover and alleviate root causes of disease and to share lessons learned in delivering care in undeveloped and developing nations. (For more information about PIH, go here.)

Since the massive earthquake on January 12, Lasante staff have set up triage centers in Cange to treat the injured and are coordinating and assisting with relief efforts in Port-au-Prince, St. Marc, and other locations.

Farmer's Stand With Haiti is collecting donations to aid Haiti in its recovery from last week's disaster.

Stand With Haiti

In addition to communicating instant updates on Haiti via Twitter, Stand With Haiti is maintaining a blog to monitor conditions on the ground, deliver messages and news from Lasante staff, and coordinate logistics, humanitarian relief, and calls for and receipt of volunteers, supplies, and monetary or other donations.

REMEMBER HAITI: Simply This for Haiti


Jennifer @ said...

Thank you, Maureen, for continuing to share trustworthy relief agencies with us, your readers.

You're a blessing.

Joyce Wycoff said...

Farmer is a hero and inspiration to greater courage and love. Thanks for the introduction.