In the News: Our Favorite Moments From 2023

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Top media coverage and events highlight PIH’s impact in global health

On October 26, 2023, on what would have been Paul Farmer’s 64th birthday, Partners In Health communities around the world came together to celebrate a Global Day of Action. In Rwanda, Partners In Health and University of Global Health Equity students, faculty, and staff planted a coastal redwood tree in his honor. Photo by Alain Patrick Hirwa / UGHE.

At Partners In Health, 2023 was a year of deepening our commitment to global health equity, from sustaining our care for millions of patients worldwide to advocating for policy change. 
From Haiti to Peru to Lesotho, we continued to accompany patients, clinicians, and communities, tirelessly working toward a world where no one dies of diseases that are treatable or because of where they were born. Our work reflects the vision of our late Co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer, whose legacy moves us to act in solidarity, not charity, and to do whatever it takes to make our patients well and help them thrive. 
Throughout the year, media coverage and events highlighted our work and our impact on global health. Here are some of our favorite moments: 
1. WBUR 90.9 FM: “‘We All Have to Do This Work’: Paul Farmer’s Greatest Legacy is the People He Left Behind” 
Paul’s admirable legacy unfolds not only in the groundbreaking work he accomplished but also in the people he inspired and empowered to carry on his mission. This piece, written a year after his passing, is a poignant reflection on how his enduring legacy lies in the individuals and communities he touched, united by a shared commitment to continuing the crucial work of advancing global health and social justice. Read the full story.  
2. NPR: “Ophelia Dahl on Her Radcliffe Prize and Lessons Learned from Paul Farmer and Her Youth” 
In May, PIH Co-founder Ophelia Dahl received Harvard’s esteemed Radcliffe Medal—a distinction she now shares with other iconic figures such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Madeleine Albright, and Toni Morrison. Dahl’s steadfast commitment to health equity and social justice endures, more than three decades after she co-founded PIH alongside Paul Farmer, Jim Yong Kim, Tom White, and Todd McCormack. Reflecting on her journey, she emphasizes the importance of sustained effort, maintaining aspirational goals, and pushing the boundaries of what is achievable. Read the full story.  

3. ABC News: “Millions Could Soon Have Access to Lifesaving Tuberculosis Drug Following Online Uproar”  
PIH has been at the forefront of fighting multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) for decades. This year is no different. In July, PIH joined bestselling author and board member John Green’s online campaign to protest Johnson & Johnson’s plan to extend the patent on bedaquiline, a lifesaving TB drug, until the end of 2027. The campaign was quickly followed up by a Johnson & Johnson announcement that it was working with the Global Drug Facility, a United Nations-based procurer of medications for public health systems around the world, to give it approval to purchase and supply generic versions of bedaquiline to low- and middle-income countries, where TB remains a potent killer, ultimately reducing the cost of care. “The availability of the generic drug could provide six million people with treatment over the next four years,” said Carole Mitnick, a professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School and a senior research associate at PIH. Read the full story
4. BBC Africa Daily: “How Can Sierra Leone Further Improve Care for Pregnant Mothers?” 
Sierra Leone has managed to reduce the number of women who die during and after childbirth by half in the last two years. But the maternal mortality figures are still some of the highest in the world, and the government has called it a “national emergency.” In the country’s eastern Kono District, PIH is helping build a new maternity centre, in partnership with the local government and nonprofit Build Health International (BHI). The new 166-bed facility, called the Maternal Center of Excellence, is scheduled to open its doors by the end of 2024. Isata Dumbuya, PIH Sierra Leone’s director of reproductive, maternal, and adolescent health, spoke with the BBC about the project, along with BHI employees Bintu Missah and Hawa Baryoh. Listen to the full story.  

5. The Guardian: “The Door-to-Door Service That is Changing the Diagnosis for Malawians” 
PIH’s care delivery model goes beyond treating just one disease. It’s about strengthening health systems and providing integrated care to those who need it most. In Neno, Malawi, PIH is closing the gap between HIV treatment and treatment for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as hypertension, diabetes, and sickle cell anemia. Community health workers (CHWs) have been vital to Neno’s model of integrated chronic care, with 1,200 CHWs helping patients navigate the health system and access care. Read the full story.   
6. The Advocate: “The Cost of Inaction on PEPFAR, the AIDS Relief Program That’s Saved Millions” 
In an op-ed, PIH CEO Dr. Sheila Davis and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joia Mukherjee shared their views on the U.S. Congress’s failure to reauthorize critical AIDS legislation, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). This inaction, they point out, is “jeopardizing millions of lives and stalling two decades of progress toward global health equity.” Starting with the HIV Equity Initiative in Haiti in the mid-1980s, PIH has played a significant role in the global response to the AIDS pandemic. PEPFAR funds have also helped strengthen the health system across five of the 11 countries where PIH works. PIH continues to call on U.S. leadership to take action and reauthorize PEPFAR. Read the full story.      
7. Remembering Our Beloved Paul  
In February, PIH hosted a virtual memorial event, marking one year since the passing of our Co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer and remembering his life, legacy, and the incredible impact he had on the world. Paul’s closest friends, family, partners, and the global PIH community were invited to share their reflections. Watch the event

8. Global Day of Action  
On Paul’s birthday on October 26, PIH organized a Global Day of Action to celebrate and honor his life and to use this time to recommit to our work and drive forward our collective vision for health equity. Learn more about the event.
9. Maternal Centre of Excellence Instagram Live
In October, PIH Sierra Leone and our nonprofit construction partner Build Health International hosted our first Instagram Live tour of the Maternal Centre of Excellence (MCOE). The MCOE, which broke ground in April 2021, will provide advanced maternal and child health care in Kono District and beyond and will serve as a hub for global innovation in maternal health.⁠ During the livestream, PIH shared the progress already made in access to maternal health care and the goals for the MCOE. Watch the IG Live.

10. Reddit AMA with John Green
In October, PIH clinicians and researchers with experience fighting tuberculosis (TB) globally were joined by TB advocate, bestselling author, and PIH board member John Green for a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA). During the live chat, the team answered an array of questions on TB, including how it’s transmitted, diagnosed, and treated and what we need to do to ensure more people have access to a cure. Read the AMA
11. Harvard Symposium
In November, PIH partnered with Harvard University and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital to host the Paul Farmer Symposium on Global Health Equity. Held on Harvard’s campus, where Paul was a student and later joined the faculty, the symposium featured experts, thought leaders, and Paul’s colleagues and friends discussing the importance of Haiti, the first free Black republic, in shaping the global health landscape as well as Paul’s own work. Watch the event.

Originally published on pih.org

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