Friday, February 20th, 2015
By: Sadiya Ansari Staff Reporter
Published February 19, 2015/Toronto Star
Dr. Paul Farmer wants to stop “stupid deaths” in Haiti — the kind that could be prevented with basic medical care.
“Injuries that are minor become lethal,” the physician who co-founded Partners in Health told a crowd Thursday at the Daniels Spectrum building in Regent Park.
Partners in Health is one of seven humanitarian organizations receiving $1 million grants from the Slaight Family Foundation, announced publicly Thursday. Farmer travelled from Mirebalais, Haiti, where his organization built a teaching hospital, to accept the funds.
In his speech, Farmer shared how common preventable deaths in Haiti are. He lost three of his own friends to a lack of proper medical care, one to complications from childbirth.
“Until Haitians do not die of these silly injuries, you cannot claim that Haitians and modern medicine have collided,” he said later in an interview. “They would never have died if they were in proper hospitals.”
The Slaight grant will help address this through the launch of Haiti’s first emergency medicine training program.
This is the largest single gift received by the Canadian arm of Partners in Health, an organization founded in the U.S. focusing on providing medical care to poor populations in countries such as Haiti, Rwanda and Peru. Members of the Montreal rock band Arcade Fire, long-time donors, persuaded the organization to move north to make it easier for Canadians to support its cause.
Pictured: Old friends, and new. From left to right: Dr. Paul Farmer, Gary Slaight, and Stephen Lewis.