Inspiration in a sentence—that’s what we were looking for as we sifted through our stories about Partners In Health in 2017. Like any round-up, this collection of quotes falls short of conveying the breadth and depth of all that was accomplished this year. PIH staff saw 1.5 million patients in clinics and hospitals, never mind the hundreds of thousands consulted in their homes. But hopefully these few quotes, chosen for their pithiness, hint at one important aspect of the work: our deep gratitude for the chance to serve such amazing people.
"Human beings to me are not more or less human depending on the nation state in which they were born. I want everyone to have access to health care."
—Dr. Joia Mukherjee, PIH’s chief medical officer, on the thinking behind her recently published undergraduate textbook, An Introduction to Global Health Delivery
"Let us encourage the women in our lives to come stay at the birth waiting home to have a safe birth!"
—PIH staff in Sierra Leone announcing on local radio that pregnant women nearing their due date can stay in free housing near the local clinic
"While these emergencies serve as sharp reminders of the fragility of human life and that of marginalized communities, I could not emphasize enough how the impoverished people of this world live in a constant state of catastrophe. More than the occasional natural disaster, these communities are faced with adversity every day as they struggle to find the means to survive."
—Dr. Hugo Flores, executive director of PIH in Mexico, following the earthquake that struck the country in September
"At night, the river makes noises and they both cry and pray for Maria’s pains to go away."
—Carmen Contreras, director of intervention projects for PIH in Peru, on a couple who lost their home in floods last March and whom PIH helped get access to health care
"When they act rascally, it’s a good sign."
—Esther Mahotiere, nutrition program coordinator for PIH in Haiti, on seeing a formerly malnourished boy playing near his home
"We have motivated, well-trained, and decently supplied staff who reach from the Dominican border to the coast of St. Marc, and that just wasn’t here 30 years ago."
—Dr. Paul Farmer, a PIH co-founder and chief strategist, on the organization’s progress in Haiti
"You hear sirens from ambulances passing much more frequently than normal, and you know those ambulances are unlikely to be carrying the sick."
—Jon Lascher, executive director of PIH in Sierra Leone, on the floods and landslides that hit the country in August
"The more our students are spread across the world to serve vulnerable populations, the more we will be able to change the world."
—Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, vice chancellor of PIH’s University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda, on her hope for graduates
"One of my biggest dreams is to open a prosthetic clinic for amputees in Rwanda, and it would be nice to do that with PIH."
—Recent college graduate, former MIT intern, and prosthetic designer Claudine Humure, whom PIH helped survive bone cancer as a teen in Rwanda
"No matter what comes my way, no matter how I cry, one thing I know that is definitely in my heart, my tomorrow must be greater than today."
—a gospel choir singing at the graduation of 15 nurses who completed an advanced training program in Liberia, with PIH’s assistance
"There’s nothing better than patients telling you they’re happy."
—Matumisang Khasipe, a nurse midwife for PIH in Lesotho, on why she loves her job