Sunday, May 04, 2008

Jesus Who?



Names like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Martha Stewart, Howard Hughes and every other wealth-creating titan's name normally roll off our tongues as if they were part of our family. However, a physician, who revolutionized the delivery of health care around the globe and is responsible for saving millions of lives in Rwanda, Haiti, Peru, Russia, United States, Malawi and Lesotho? Never heard of him. That is, until 60 Minutes aired a 10-minute segment on Dr. Paul Farmer, tonight.

Jesus Christ, or Jesus H. Christ as some people like to refer to him, is spoken every day, all over the world, and uttered more than all the household names in history combined, yet Dr. Paul Farmer's work resembles Jesus Christ's work a hell of a lot more than any of the titan's names I just mentioned. I guess it's a good thing Jesus Christ lived 2,000 years ago because if he lived today, Mr. Jesus Christ would come and go just like any other Tom, Dick, or Harry.

But, thanks to 60 Minutes, I now know who Dr. Paul Farmer is and I know about his pet project, Partners in Health (PIH), which he started twenty years ago, but please don't ask me who this man is next year, next month, next week and possibly even tomorrow...I will have forgotten.

The PIH Vision: Whatever it takes
At its root, our mission is both medical and moral. It is based on solidarity, rather than charity alone. When a person in Peru, or Siberia, or rural Haiti falls ill, PIH uses all of the means at our disposal to make them well—from pressuring drug manufacturers, to lobbying policy makers, to providing medical care and social services. Whatever it takes. Just as we would do if a member of our own family—or we ourselves—were ill.
PIH has been ranked as one of the top three charities for saving lives reliably and cost-effectively by Givewell.net. The charity research group cited PIH as "the 'lowest-risk' charity available" because "its model is extremely logical and tangible, and we have high confidence in it."

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