Saturday, January 23, 2010

Partners in Health (My Sacred Life, Sunday)

I have written before about Dr Paul Farmer, the marvelously single-minded man who began his mission of bringing effective health care to the poorest places in the world back in the 1980's while still in medical school. The Central Plateau of Haiti was where he began his work.

Zanmi Lasante, the Haitian sister to the parent organization which Farmer founded more than 20 years ago, was the single-largest group of first responders after the earthquake hit on January 12th. They now have 20 operating rooms up and running to serve the people injured in the quake. It is Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante to which the government of Haiti turned when the crisis hit. They are running the main hospital in Port-au-Prince, portions of which proved to be safe to utilize even after the massive damage caused by the earthquake.

The operating principal for Partners in Health has been, from the beginning, to help communities in such heart-wrenchingly poor places as Haiti by recruiting people from the local populace to take the reins. Greater than 90 percent of the medical professionals--more than 120 doctors and over 500 nurses--who work for Zanmi Lasante are Haitian.

The ongoing work in Haiti will last for years. Please keep this in mind as you decide your charitable giving over the months and years ahead.

Yes, the Red Cross and other such huge relief organizations will prove vital to the recovery of the people of Haiti, but the folks who live and work there, the people who have been providing for their own friends and relatives for more than 20 years, the doctors and nurses who are, themselves, Haitian, are the people of Zanmi Lasante. It is Partners in Health who will still be there five years from now when this disaster is but a fading memory in the minds of most of us.

Give now. Give as generously as you can. And, make a note on your calendar to give again in three months, six months, a year from now.

Give to Partners in Health and Zanmi Lasante.

1 comment:

Rick Hamrick said...

That's a really good point, Rick. Marking the calendar is a great way not to forget to do so.