The organization Partners in Health has been transforming health care in the world’s poorest places for 25 years. Nurses like Pat Daoust, who were on the front lines of America’s AIDS epidemic, have put their wisdom to work overseas. We’re talking to doctors and nurses who come back from places like Haiti, Ethiopia and rural Mexico with lessons for our own rich country in a medical crisis of its own. Listen Thursday at 9 p.m. for healthcare prescriptions from the developing world.
We’re calling all doctors, nurses, and patients this week. Our question for you: what do the best American docs learn treating the poorest of the poor in Malawi, or Mexico, that they couldn’t learn in a robotic surgery lab or a million-dollar MRI suite? Call (617) 353-0692 to record a message that we’ll play at the top of the show.
- Ophelia Dahl is the executive director and a co-founder (with Paul Farmer, Jim Kim, the late Tom White, and others) of Partners in Health, the Boston-based non-profit that has taken as its mission to bring great health care to the world’s poorest people and “to serve as an antidote to despair”.
- Dr. Daniel Palazuelos is PIH’s chief strategist at its site in Chiapas, Mexico, and directs their efforts to ensure the success of their community-health workers, who are charged with the “accompaniment” of patients.
- Pat Daoust is the chief nursing officer at SEED Global Health, an organization dedicated to training a new generation of health professionals for work in the developing world. Daoust has served as one of the leading figures in HIV/AIDS nursing for decades, first with the AIDS Action Committee, then with the Harvard AIDS Initiative in Botswana and Ethiopia.
- In “Partners in Help,” Paul Farmer gives an ethos of “accompaniment” to those working with the poor and the ill — work tirelessly, with an open mind, and until you’re no longer needed:
There’s an element of mystery, of openness, of trust, in accompaniment. The companion, the accompagnateur, says: “I’ll go with you and support you on your journey wherever it leads; I’ll share your fate for a while. And by ‘a while,’ I don’t mean a little while.” Accompaniment is about sticking with a task until it’s deemed completed, not by the accompagnateur but by the person being accompanied.
- “Slow Ideas,” Atul Gawande’s latest essay in The New Yorker, tells us that the important changes in medicine will depend not on easy technological fixes, but on big and sometimes grueling social change.
- In “From Haiti to Harvard,” on WBUR’s own Commonhealth blog, Rachel Zimmerman tells of the difficulties that community health workers in Boston face every day — and of the promise they represent for the American medical establishment.
- Our guest, Dr. Daniel Palazuelos, wrote a short piece about the myths and realities surrounding community health workers abroad.
- And the 2014 annual letter of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation looks forward to the hoped-for end of global poverty as we know it.