Paul Farmer’s drive to treat people considered “untreatable”–too poor, too sick–has changed the way public health is practiced worldwide, convincing the medical community that destitute villagers in Malawi or prisoners in Russia deserve expensive drugs, well-trained caregivers, and up-to-date facilities. Partners in Health, the not-for-profit he cofounded 24 years ago, now has 13,000 employees (most are locals) and a list of accomplishments that includes success in treating drug-resistant tuberculosis. PIH’s latest project: a teaching hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, to train the next generation of Haitian health-care workers and serve 400 patients daily. “The model of the teaching hospital, which links research to teaching and service,” Farmer has explained, “is what’s missing in global health.”
Farmer talks about his belief that Health Care is a human right (top), and a tour of a new hospital in Haiti being built by Partners In Health.