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Partners in Well being, the Boston charity that first made a mark in Haiti, stays dedicated to building a robust health system in West Africa at the same time as one in every of its staff lies stricken with Ebola, in line with one of many company’s founders. Within the first six months after the earthquake, 733 PIH volunteers from 26 U.S. states and six nations labored in Haiti. In tent metropolis hospitals and makeshift clinics, Haitian and American medical doctors and nurses worked aspect by aspect. PIH has offered health care in Haiti for greater than 20 years, primarily in rural elements of the nation. Underneath green tents, within the blazing solar, they inoculate, provide prenatal checkups and treat primary ailments. The notion of solidarity sets Partners In Health aside from many different charitable organizations. Dahl and Farmer trekked the dusty trails at Cange, asking the people what they wanted most.

One thing that was obvious, even in the eighties, was that Haiti was a veritable graveyard of improvement initiatives, with numerous externally imposed packages,” stated Dr. Paul Farmer, who co-based Zanmi Lasante with Haitian neighborhood leaders and Ophelia Dahl of Britain in 1983. Meanwhile, Farmer was envisioning a undertaking that would supply well being care on a larger scale.

So PIH really started as a solidarity organization for Zanmi Lasante, which might be Haitian-run and employ Haitians,” Farmer stated. In addition to Haiti, PIH works with accomplice organizations and nationwide well being ministries in eleven different countries: Lesotho, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, Guatemala, Burundi, Russia, Mexico, Rwanda, Peru, and Malawi. Farmer first went to Haiti’s Central Plateau in the spring of 1983 earlier than starting his first 12 months at Harvard Medical Faculty. Within the metropolis of Mirebalais, he volunteered in a small clinic run by an Episcopal priest, the Reverend Fritz Lafontant.

Dahl was 18, and hadn’t but determined what she needed to do along with her life, so, at her household’s suggestion, she went to Haiti to volunteer. Dahl and Farmer traveled to Cange, a small, destitute neighborhood of people left landless after development of a dam flooded their properties and fields. It was the notion of working in partnership with the area people that inspired the organization’s identify: Zanmi Lasante/Partners In Health. Right this moment, PIH employees and volunteers view their work in a lot the identical manner that Dahl and Farmer did once they were establishing the primary clinic in Cange. The experience in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake was a high level of his profession.

Dahl and Farmer shaped a crew, which eventually included Farmer’s school roommate, Todd McCormack; one other Harvard medical scholar, Jim Yong Kim; and Boston businessman Tom White, who contributed millions of dollars to build PIH’s first community-based well being undertaking in Cange. Farmer invited 60 Minutes to central Haiti, the place he found his life’s work 25 years in the past. The invitation meant a three-hour, jaw clenching, tooth rattling journey on an unpaved highway from the capital metropolis to the hospital. Farmer spends most of his time commuting between the hospitals in Rwanda and Haiti.