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What PIH has proved

What PIH has proved

Partners In Health Canada is a non-profit organization relentlessly committed to global health equity.

Click on the links below to see the remarkable changes PIH has proved!

Health as a Human Right
Treating HIV/AIDS
Treating Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis in Peru
Cancer care in Rwanda
Cholera in Haiti


Health as a Human Right

The mission of Partners In Health (PIH) is both medical and moral, based on solidarity rather than charity alone. We ask people in the communities we serve what ailsHealth as a Human Right them and then do whatever it takes to make them well, just as we would if a member of our own family, or we ourselves, were ill.

PIH became a global health game changer over the past 25 years by tackling diseases and conditions others deemed too expensive and complicated to treat in poor communities. From AIDS to tuberculosis, from cancer to cholera, PIH continues to prove that empowered communities and well-coordinated health systems can effectively treat the world's most challenging diseases, even in some of the most rural and resource-poor settings imaginable. 

Treating HIV/AIDS

They said it:
“You have to take these [AIDS] drugs a certain number of hours each day, or they don’t work. Many people in Africa have never seen a clock or a watch their entire lives. And if you say ‘One o’clock in the afternoon,’ they do not know what you are talking about.”
- Andrew Natsios, a senior official with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2001, explaining why it wasn’t worth treating difficult HIV/AIDS cases in Africa: 
 
No program to treat people in the poorest countries has more intrigued experts than the one started in Haiti by Partners In Health.”
- New York Times, 2003 
 
 Joseph's before and after image - unbelievable 6 month recovery
Started in 1998, Partners In Health’s HIV Equity Initiative in Haiti was one of the first programs in the world to provide free, comprehensive HIV treatment and prevention services to the destitute sick. At the time, global health experts doubted that AIDS treatment could be delivered effectively in settings of poverty: They said medications were too expensive; patients could not cope with complicated pill regimens; and HIV treatment protocols for such settings, let alone sophisticated tests and equipment, were not available. 
 
PIH didn't agree. PIH provided patient support and other health care services to boost clinical outcomes and drastically improved treatment adherence through the use of paid community health workers. Stories of recovery from patients like Joseph (pictured above), who was transformed from near-death to a picture of health over a six-month span in 2003, earned PIH international acclaim.
 
The work of PIH in Haiti and other pioneering efforts inspired treatment initiatives like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Funding from these organizations and others  has helped save millions of lives.  


Treating Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis in Peru

They said it: 
 “In developing countries, people with multidrug‐resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) usually die, because effective treatment is often impossible in poor countries.”
- World Health Organization, 1996
 
 “Findings from a series of projects have clearly demonstrated that MDR‐TB can be effectively treated in low‐income countries.”
- World Health Organization, 2006
 
Tuberculosis (TB) is a common and in many cases lethal infectious disease affecting the lungs.  It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough or sneeze. 

Treating Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis in PeruTreatment is difficult and requires long courses of multiple antibiotics. When people fail to complete the drug regimen, the disease becomes resistant to treatment. It often develops into a more deadly form of TB called multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

In 1996, PIH began a demonstration project in the shantytowns of Lima, Peru, to treat TB patients whose disease proved resistant to first-line drugs. PIH developed individualized patient treatment regimens and trained community health workers to visit patients daily to monitor their adherence and provide support. Within two years, the cure rate among the first cohort of patients was 83%, a success that rivaled first-world treatment programs. Changes in national and international treatment policy followed, as did massive reductions in drug prices. 
 
PIH expanded MDR-TB treatment in countries including Peru, Russia, Lesotho and many others. PIH’s persistent advocacy led to the reversal of World Health Organization policy that once advised countries against treating drug-resistant TB. PIH has trained hundreds of physicians, nurses, lab scientists, and program managers from around the world in the management of MDR-TB and HIV/TB co-infection. 
 

Cancer care in Rwanda

Cancer care in Rwanda

 They said it: 
“A review of the policy documents published by the major agencies advising on (and financing) health care for the people of Africa shows no concern for the care of persons suffering from cancer.” 
-International Agency for Research on Cancer – Cancer in Africa - 2003. 
 
“Early on, I believe we’re going to be inundated. We can’t find any other example of it being done in rural Africa. We want lots of other people to be doing this.” 
- Dr. Paul Farmer, Co-founder of Partners In Health, on the opening of the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence in northern Rwanda, 2012 
 
The Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence, in Butaro Hospital in northern rural Rwanda (above), opened in July 2012. A collaboration between Partners In Health, the Rwandan Ministry of Health and other partners brought together through the Clinton Global Initiative, the Center is the first facility of its kind to bring comprehensive cancer care to rural East Africa. 
 
Patients seeking treatment at the Butaro Cancer Center receive the full spectrum of care, including screening, diagnosis, chemotherapy, surgery, patient follow-up, palliative care, a pathology lab, mental health and social work services, and socioeconomic support, such as food, transportation, home visits, and community health worker accompaniment. The Cancer Center will prove it is possible to reduce the more than 2.4 million cancer deaths that could be avoided each year in developing countries, simply by applying existing prevention and treatment interventions commonly available in rich countries.
 
All this is taking place in an isolated rural district that only five years ago had one doctor to serve a population of 320,000 people. 

Cholera in Haiti

They said it: 
“[T]he value of cholera vaccines in controlling ongoing outbreaks through reactive vaccination is not yet established. Furthermore, vaccine use in outbreaks in post-disaster settings poses unique logistic, financial, and human resource challenges.” 
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 2011
 
 
“[R]ecommendations to scale up use of the vaccine in Haiti and the WHO endorsement of a stockpile of cholera vaccines are both great strides forward for those at risk of cholera in Haiti and worldwide.” 
- Dr. Louise Ivers, Partners In Health, on the shift in policy following successful pilot cholera vaccine projects in Haiti undertaken by Partners In Health and GHESKIO, August 2012
 
Cholera in Haiti
Cholera is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated water supplies. Cholera hadn’t been seen in Haiti for roughly five decades before an explosion of new cases in October 2010. More than 6,500 people died within the first year of its reappearance. 
 
A month after the outbreak, Partners In Health wrote that cholera vaccine should be one of five steps essential to slowing the spread of the disease. Immediately there were sceptics who argued a cholera vaccine wouldn’t work in Haiti. There weren’t enough doses available for country-wide coverage, they said. The logistics of delivering the required two doses was difficult and expensive. Available resources should focus only on public water and sanitation investments. 
 
Those who would benefit immediately from a cholera vaccine weren’t making any of these arguments. 
 
Partners In Health set out to vaccinate 50,000 people in a rural area near St. Marc. Data showed that 45,368 people were vaccinated and 90.8 percent were confirmed to have received the second dose—a very high completion rate that undoubtedly saved lives. 
The Pan American Health Organization has now recommeded expanding the use of oral cholera vaccine in Haiti, and the World Health Organization has endorsed a recommendation that a stockpile of 2 million oral cholera doses be created to respond to outbreaks around the world.
 
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