To mark this milestone, a few of our friends from Peru sent a letter to the Boston office with the hopes that we’d share it with our supporters. From all of us in the US office: Congratulations, and job well done!
Estimados amigos de Socios En Salud,
July 9th marks Socios En Salud’s 15th anniversary. What began in 1996 as a small group of doctors, nurses, and community health workers treating ten multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) patients in a shantytown of Lima is now a global leader in community-based treatment — not just of MDR-TB, but HIV and other infectious diseases.
In early June, SES celebrated the anniversary with an event attended by 300 SES staff, former patients, health promoters, Ministry of Health officials, and invited guests. In his opening remarks, the director of Peru’s National TB Program recalled the early days of SES: treating patients in their homes, hiking up dirt hills to the sickest patients, and winning hard-fought battles to secure quality care for the poor. The event concluded by acknowledging the contributions of (PIH co-founder) Paul Farmer and former SES director Jaime Bayona, as well as naming world-renowned Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio a “leading partner in the fight against tuberculosis in Peru.”
Meetings with Ministry of Health and city officials throughout the week reaffirmed SES’s impact in Peru, as Lima’s mayor awarded Paul Farmer the Medal of Lima. The award recognized the success of the community-based care model, first implemented by SES, that is now the national strategy in a country still heavily burdened by TB. Today more than 10,500 patients with MDR-TB have been cared for under SES’s care model, achieving a 75 percent cure rate that is both the highest in the world, and a substantially improved adherence among MDR-TB and HIV patients.
After 15 years of fighting for the right to health care for the poor, SES is now reflecting on the past and looking forward to new challenges. The organization will continue its work with an emphasis on research and providing scientific evidence that can influence public health policy in favor of the communities SES serves. It will also continue to expand training efforts to bring the SES model of care to other areas of Peru and throughout the region, seeking the best treatments for a variety of public health issues.
Socios En Salud Sucursal Perú