Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
Remember testing your IQ on hunger at the UN World Food Program (WFP) for World Food Day? Now, how about testing your IQ on “Maternal health in the world” at Partners in Health (PIH)? Just 3 questions, and 2 minutes of your time; and for every test taken, fifty cents (US .50 cts) will be donated to PIH (Partners in Health) to save mothers’ lives! ...At the very least, that should take a bit of the unfairness out of testing!...
What is PIH (Partners in Health)?
The story of the people who founded Partners in Health is told in a NY Times bestseller titled Mountains beyond mountains: The quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a man who would cure the world (Kidder, 2004). In all fairness, one could probably add to the title of this absolutely wonderful book: “with the help of his best friends”. And then mention PIH’s three additional co-founders: Ophelia Dahl (also daughter of Roald Dahl, the famed children’s author of such classics as James and the Giant Peach, Mathilda or Charlie and Chocolate Factory), Dr. Jim Yong Kim (now President of the World Bank, also selected in 2006 by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, among countless additional very distinguished accolades), Todd McCormack (also president of IMG Media), and the now deceased Tom White.
PIH was initially founded in 1987 as a non-profit organization intended to deliver healthcare in poverty stricken areas of the Central Plateau in Haiti. Twenty-seven years later, in partnerships with Harvard University, private foundations, non-profits, and the national governments of many developing countries, PIH operates pioneering and model healthcare partnership programs in poverty-stricken areas on 4 continents. In particular, the organization has pioneered model partnership programs for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in places such as Chiapas, Mexico; the slums of Lima in Peru; the Neno district of Malawi and Lesotho, South Africa, where it was believed that such care and treatment could not be delivered. At root, the PIH partnership programs rely on a community-based system of trained healthcare workers, connected to the larger healthcare systems and institutions. In the US, PIH is partnered, for example, with the Navajo Nation, Native American COPE (Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment) program for the prevention of chronic diseases.
In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, PIH was also instrumental in rebuilding the shattered Haitian healthcare system with a teaching hospital and center of medical excellence, the Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais, and successfully joined forces to fight a cholera epidemic. This proved to be the culmination, and shining star, of a model designed to develop top quality healthcare in a poverty-stricken country, as the teaching hospital has the capacity to generate its own doctors and nurses, and to provide state of the art technologies where none existed at all. Another PIH partnership also resulted in building the Butaro Hospital, in Rwanda, a teaching hospital, and model hub of medical excellence for East Africa, which opened in 2011. The hope, now, is to develop such a medical infrastructure of excellence and teaching in West Africa, in Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea, where the Ebola pandemic is raging, with a long term view of forever preventing the risks of such pandemics
PIH is a tireless and relentless advocate of health as human right. And, to a large extent, PIH has succeeded in securing these rights in many forsaken and destitute areas, including tuberculosis-infected Russian jails. If “everything that is wrong in the world” stems from thinking that “some lives matter less”, as Dr. Farmer believes, then this much is now clearly articulated, and on the map for “building better”, as former President Clinton puts it.
(FYI - I have included, in the list of references below, the most important publications authored by Dr. Farmer, and a Charlie Rose interview on May 16, 2013 with Dr. Farmer, on Repairing the world)
So, what about Mothers’ health…?
Figures are daunting on mothers’ health
- World wide, 800 women die in pregnancy or childbirth everyday of very preventable causes. [UN-WHO, Fact Sheet #348]
- 289,000 women died in childbirth in 2013. And for every woman who dies in childbirth, there are an estimated 20 more who suffer injury, infection or disease, related to childbirth or pregnancy, a total of 10 million each year. [US-WHO- Why?]
- 87 percent of the women dying in childbirth are from Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia [UN-WHO, 2014]
- As a direct consequence of maternal death, about 1 million children are left motherless each year. These children are more likely to die within 1 to 2 years of their mother’s death. [US-WHO – Why?]
- Adolescent girls face a higher rate of complications and deaths as a result of pregnancy than older women. [UN-WHO –Fact sheet #348]
So, what did you score on the PIH Mothers’ Health Quizz? ….Incidentally, October 11, 2014, was the UN declared International Day of the Girl Child.
Dahl, R. ( 2007 ) James and the Giant Peach Illustrator Quentin Blake. New York, NY: Puffin-Penguin Books.
Dahl, R. (2007) Mathilda. Illustrator Quentin Blake. New York, NY: Puffin-Penguin Books.
Dahl, R. (2007) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Illustrator Quentin Blake. New York, NY: Puffin-Penguin Books.
Farmer, P. Dr. (2013) To repair the world: Paul Farmer speaks to the next generation. J. Weigel (Ed.) Foreword by Bill Clinton. California Series in Public Anthropology. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Farmer, P. Dr. and Fr. G. Gutierrez (2013) In the company of the poor: Conversations with Dr. G. Gutierrez. Michael Griffin and Jennie Weiss Block (Eds). Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
Farmer, P. Dr. , Yong Kim, J. Dr. , Kleinman, A. and M. Basilico (Eds.)(2013) Reimagining global health: An introduction California Series in Public Anthropology. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Farmer, P. Dr. (2010 ) Partner to the poor: A Paul Farmer reader. Haun Saussy (Ed.). Foreword Tracy Kidder. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Farmer, P. Dr., (2007) Women, poverty and AIDS: Sex, drugs and sexual violence. Margaret Connors and Janie Simmons (Eds.) Series in Health and Social Justice.
Farmer, P. Dr. (2006) AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the geography of blame. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Farmer, P. Dr. (2005) The uses of Haiti. Introduction by Noam Chomsky. Foreword by Jonathan Kozol. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press.
Farmer, P. Dr. (2003) Pathologies of Power: Health, human rights and the new war on the poor. Foreword by Amartya Sen. California Series in Public Anthropology. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Farmer P. Dr. (2001) Infections and inequalities: The Modern Plagues. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Kidder, T. (2004) Mountains beyond mountains: The quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a man who would cure the world . New York, NY: Random House.
PIH – Test yourself – re: maternal care
Rose, Ch. (2013) Charlie Rose interviews Dr. Paul Farmer on Repairing the world. May 16, 2013. http://www.pih.org/media/paul-farmer-discusses-to-repair-the-world-with-charlie-rose
UN-WHO 2014 – Progress Report - Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent health
UN-WHO – Fact Sheet #348 – Maternal Health
UN-WHO – Why do so women still die in pregnancy or childbirth