Spend a year talking to Partners In Health clinicians and patients around the world and you’ll hear statements that inspire, provoke, and challenge. Here are 10 of the most memorable statements we’ve heard this year.
10: “I can’t take credit for saving the girl’s life today without taking responsibility for the man’s death last week, so I choose to do neither. Instead, I prefer to simply keep working to improve the system as a whole.”
Dr. Adam Levine, clinical advisor for emergency and trauma care for Partners In Health/Inshuti Mu Buzima, reflecting on his work in northern Rwanda.
9: "One year ago, I couldn't have even imagined learning surgery in a hospital with an international standard of quality, for the good reason that such a hospital didn't exist in the country yet. That's the proof that great things can be done in Haiti."
Dr. Jean-Louis Willy Fils, among the 14 Haitian physicans selected for the first medical residency program at University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti.
8: "When the sickness started, I fell into a dark hole so deep that I was afraid to keep living. To get up every day was agony. I didn’t know how to tell my children that there wasn’t anything to eat. I was alone and sick .... Now I’m not afraid of getting out of bed. I know that there are good days and low days, but not bad days."
Marcela Mamani, a multidrug-resistant tuberculosis survivor and patient of Socios En Salud, PIH's sister organization in Peru.
Blessings Banda, HIV and nutrition coordinator at PIH's sister organization in Malawi, on the importance of accompanying the hardest-to-reach patients.
6: "Through supporting each other and learning from one another, we will surely reduce child mortality and save the lives of babies."
Dr. Fuldgence Nkikabahizi, the medical director of Rwinkwavu District Hospital in Rwanda, discussing the All Babies Count Neonatal Learning Collaborative.
5: "One of the nice things about being a doctor is that I get to ignore the nonsense on the nightly news. Patients are patients no matter where you are."
PIH's Dr. KJ Seung on his work treating drug-resistant tuberculosis in North Korea.
4: “I expected to find more patients with infectious diseases. But we started finding these diseases that are supposed to be first-world diseases. Then I realized Chiapas is already facing an epidemiological transition. They live in third-world conditions, but they are facing first-world diseases. That is a challenge because there is no comprehensive primary care system.”
Dr. Jafet Arrieta, former director of operations for PIH's sister organization in Mexico, explaining the prevalance of noncommunicable diseases in rural parts of the country.
3: "Care is offered to every patient, at any place and at any time. We provide care wherever it is most convenient for the patient."
Oksana Ponomarenko, country director for PIH/Russia, discussing the Sputnik program, which provides accompaniment and social support to drug-resistant tuberculosis patients in Tomsk, Russia.
2: "We are not going to accept any maternal deaths. It takes commitment and teamwork to make this happen. We all started with that spirit—that there is no reason a woman should die during pregnancy or giving birth. Midwives, drivers all share that spirit. Everybody is ready."
Dr. Hind Satti, Lesotho country director for PIH, on a maternal health program that has led to a sharp increase in the number of women giving birth in health facilities.
1: "Haiti is known for its torrential rains. Sometimes they begin slowly and build to a crescendo, and other times they fall suddenly and loudly and wildly. The sound of the Caribbean rain hitting your rooftop can be enjoyable and soothing if you are in a safe place—warm in your bed or lying on your sofa. The very same rains can be a nightmare for those living in flooded areas or tents. For me, the rains bring back a flood of unpleasant memories."
Dr. Charles Patrick Almazor, director of clinical services for Zanmi Lasante, reflecting on the first days of the cholera epidemic in Haiti.