Sunday, September 9, 2007

Paul Farmer commentary in Forbes feature Solutions: Health Care

Commentary, 09.04.07, Forbes Magazine

Paul Farmer interviewed by Sonia Narang

I was lucky enough to make my first trip to Haiti almost 25 years ago. Haiti has been the best teacher I've ever had (and that's saying a lot).

Working there taught me several things: that all enduring, good work is done by teams (no doctor can be effective alone); that public health and public infrastructure is always important (even the biggest and most beautiful mission hospital cannot serve the people of an entire region, much less a nation); that community-based care, relying on village health workers is the secret to success for programs for chronic diseases, including AIDS and tuberculosis; that some services should not be sold, even for the tiniest price, because there will always be some who cannot pay these "users' fees," as they're called, and the ones who cannot pay are precisely the people we came to serve in the first place. These are also the people who are, often enough, hungry. There's only one treatment, we learned, for that affliction: food. See full story at:
Read the Partners in Health January 2007 report on their work in Rwanda at
Read the Partners in Health January 2007 report on their work in Haiti at