Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader

Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader

Paul Farmer, Haun Saussy

Language: English

Pages: 680

ISBN: 0520257138

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

For nearly thirty years, anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer has traveled to some of the most impoverished places on earth to bring comfort and the best possible medical care to the poorest of the poor. Driven by his stated intent to "make human rights substantial," Farmer has treated patients—and worked to address the root causes of their disease—in Haiti, Boston, Peru, Rwanda, and elsewhere in the developing world. In 1987, with several colleagues, he founded Partners In Health to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. Throughout his career, Farmer has written eloquently and extensively on these efforts. Partner to the Poor collects his writings from 1988 to 2009 on anthropology, epidemiology, health care for the global poor, and international public health policy, providing a broad overview of his work. It illuminates the depth and impact of Farmer’s contributions and demonstrates how, over time, this unassuming and dedicated doctor has fundamentally changed the way we think about health, international aid, and social justice.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to Partners In Health.

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to be fatal. Social Science and Immodest Claims of Causality How have social scientists discussed the various forces that conspire to render certain groups susceptible to TB while shielding others? Let us examine a handful of studies of TB published in the sociomedical or anthropological press. Each was conducted in a poor country, and each makes certain claims of causality in attempting to explain both noncompliance and the persistence of TB as a major cause of mortality in the setting under

had been sent to him by a jealous rival or a group of rivals. Anita had contracted sida through sexual contact with a person who had the syndrome. She was not the victim of sorcery. Indeed, this would have been a very unlikely fate for Anita Joseph. As villagers repeated many times, Anita had lost her mother, run away at fourteen, and been forced into a sexual union by poverty. Several people, including Anita’s uncle, added that they were all victims of the dam at Péligre, whose construction in

argued that speculation about a Haitian origin of AIDS led to a wave of anti-Haitian discrimination, which in turn led to loss of jobs and housing.4 The link between AIDS and Haiti, strengthened in innumerable articles in the popular press, seemed to resonate with what might be termed a North American folk model of Haitians.5 One of the most persistently invoked associations related the occurrence of AIDS in Haitians to voodoo. Something that happened at these ritual fires, it was speculated,

in approximately 25 percent of Haiti’s foreign currency.49 There was every sign that the gains in tourism would be steady, but political instability in 1957, followed by the tyrannical rule of François Duvalier, meant that North Americans avoided Haiti for several years.50 Duvalier attempted to court tourists and their dollars later in the 1960s, after he had silenced domestic opposition. In the same speech in which he welcomed U.S. vice president Nelson Rockefeller to Haiti and promoted the

explanation. The emphasis is on cultural determination. Even when social relations receive more than reflexive recognition, medical social scientists restrict the social relations to small “primary” group settings, such as the family, and factions at the micro unit. . . . Little or no attempt is made to encompass the totality of the larger society’s structure.” 17 In my view, obscuring “the totality of the larger society’s structure” (including its place in international systems) is all too

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