To truly understand the effect that Partners In Health has had on people around the world, it is necessary to hear their individual stories. Here, we share a few of the countless inspiring stories from the field.
Paul Farmer and Ti Jean, a late volunteer at Zanmi Lasante
Socios en Salud, Peru
When Angela first sought help for her husband's tuberculosis, she was told that he would not survive and was encouraged to begin planning for life without him. None of the physicians she had approached had even touched him before they came to this conclusion until Angela came to Socios En Salud, PIH's partner organization in Peru. There, she was met with kindness and the assurance that both she and her husband would be well taken care of. When Angela herself became sick, she took the pills prescribed by the doctor despite the pleas of her children to discontinue treatment. Because of PIH and Socio En Salud's care and perseverance, Angela and her husband are alive today.
Inshuti Mu Buzima, Rwanda
The distrust and fear that was the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide has never completely dissipated. However, in François Musatsi's village, it has begun to diminish significantly. After François returned to Rwanda in 1994, he looked forward to a bright future with his wife and eight children. Unfortunately, expensive medical bills placed his trading business in trouble. François was admitted to a PIH partner clinic, Inshuti Mu Buzima, and persuaded to be tested for HIV. He was found to be HIV-positive and was assigned a community health worker to give him antiretroviral drugs. When François, who belonged to the Tutsi ethnic group, discovered that his health worker was a Hutu, lingering distrust arose between the neighbors because of the country's violent history. But soon after, François and the health worker became friends and began to encourage their neighbors to get tested at the clinic as well, helping to eradicate hate and fear in the process.
Dr. Roland Désiré
Zanmi Lasante, Haiti
As a blan, or white, doctor in Haiti, Paul Farmer and his practice attracted a lot of attention. His work soon became an inspiration for students both in Haiti and the United States, especially for those studying medicine. One of these students is Dr. Roland Désiré, a young doctor who has chosen to devote his time to Zanmi Lasante as a full-time physician. Roland was attracted to PIH because of its promise to offer free care and a strong support system to the sick. During a break in his residency in Cap Hatïen on the northern coast, Roland spent a month treating patients in Cange. After finishing his residency, he joined PIH's staff and works as a program director to deliver HIV, TB, and other types of health care to the local people. As with many doctors working in rural and impoverished areas, Roland found himself having to treat patients with multiple health problems. However, as part of the next generation that will carry on Partners in Health's mission, Roland seems to understand the importance of integrated care: "We don't just look after TB patients or pregnant women, we look at everything together."