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A Conversation with Global-Health Activist Paul Farmer

The following conversation is taken from Time magazine (13 May 2013).  Dr. Paul Farmer, a Harvard professor and global-health expert, is the founder of the NGO “Partners in Health” and the subject of the bestselling book Mountains Beyond Mountains.

You say the very poorest don’t get health care because of a failure of imagination.  Is that really what it is?

It must be, because a lot of the technologies or the human resources that you’d need to do a good job in settings of poverty, we have them.  We have great preventives like vaccines.  We have new ways of diagnosing.  We have a lot of therapies that can save lives.  We know a lot about how to build teams who can deliver care.  So it must be a failure of imagination.

Instead of aid, you prefer the idea of “accompaniment,” of staying with people until they believe all their needs…

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