Preventing "stupid deaths" in poor countries around the world

Posted on Nov 18, 2011


PIH co-founder Paul Farmer.

In his recent op-ed in the Washington Post, PIH co-founder Paul Farmer highlights the success of both the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB and Malaria, urging the international community to scale up these projects and others like them.

How we can save millions of lives argues that “Redoubling treatment efforts for leading causes of morbidity and mortality is not only the right thing to do, but it also must be a cornerstone of any effort to redress the inequitable burden of disease on the poor.” Read an excerpt below: 

Ten million people — many of them young and most of them poor — will die around the world this year from diseases for which safe, effective and affordable treatments exist. In Haiti, these are known as “stupid deaths.” What’s more, inadequate health services predominate precisely where the burden of disease is heaviest, keeping a billion souls from leading full lives in good health.

In recent years, initiatives such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria have helped rein in some of the biggest scourges. We’d be hard-pressed to point to a more inspiring achievement in global public health since the eradication of smallpox in 1977. Massive efforts have been made to address the “delivery challenge”: getting the medicines to those who need them. Citing evidence that, in addition to saving lives, treatment for AIDS also reduces the transmission rate by 96 percent, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton this month proposed more investment in PEPFAR, even calling for “an AIDS-free generation.”

Read “How we can save lives” by Paul Farmer in its entirety.  


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