Partners in Health Co-Founder Farmer Calls on Health Officials To Develop Practical Global Health Strategies
U.S. public health authorities should develop more practical approaches to their global programs that recognize the human rights components of health, Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health, said on Sunday at the opening of the American Public Health Association's annual meeting, the Boston Globe reports. Farmer -- who in 1987 co-founded PIH, which aims to combat diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis -- at the meeting said that U.S. health officials "need to think about such prosaic issues as supply chains for sutures," adding, "It is when people have the chance to eat and be well that they build democratic institutions." Farmer also emphasized the importance of hiring, training and providing payments to local residents who provide health services. According to the Globe, PIH operates on a model that focuses on training and employing local residents, which has been implemented in Haiti, Russia, and other countries in Latin America and Africa. According to Farmer, providing payments to local workers in the developing countries represents how social justice and public health must be integrated. He added that wealthy nations should return some of the resources they have taken away from developing countries, which means focusing more on providing supplies and services and less on conducting surveys. "Many of our patients are hungry," Farmer said, adding that the "last time we checked, the treatment for hunger is food" (Smith, Boston Globe, 11/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.