Our work in Peru emerged from one core idea—no community should lack access to care because a disease is considered “too expensive” or “too complicated” to treat.
From the moment we began our work in Peru, we challenged conventional narratives about delivering health care to the poor. During a tuberculosis outbreak in Carabayllo, an underserved area north of the capital of Lima, we responded with the medical expertise and local partnerships that define our approach and drive our work around the world.
The results tell a compelling story. Over two decades, we treated more than 10,500 people for drug-resistant tuberculosis and achieved cure rates of 83 percent—among the highest in the world.
We’ve since expanded our work in Peru to include programs in mental health, maternal and child health, HIV, and noncommunicable diseases. Known locally as Socios En Salud, we focus our work primarily in urban and peri-urban areas and closely partner with the Ministry of Health.
Guided by our commitment to compassionate care, we work to strengthen Peru’s health systems and accompany patients at each and every step of their journey—offering an antidote to despair.
78% of adults with depressive symptoms improved following psychotherapy.
Nearly 70,000 people screened for TB using mobile vans.
94% of pregnant women attended more than 6 prenatal visits.
Fighting infectious diseases lies at the heart of our work in Peru. When PIH Co-founder Dr. Jim Yong Kim visited the country in the mid-1990s and lost a dear friend to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, he began to wonder – how many people living in Carabayllo, where his friend had worked, also suffered from this highly infectious, airborne disease?
Socios En Salud grew out of the desire to answer that question. As we dug deeper, we learned that the disease affected thousands in the community but had gone untreated due to lack of resources, as well as the widely accepted idea that tuberculosis was too expensive and too complicated to treat there.
Our work has since debunked that idea. Through an ambitious campaign that spanned two decades, we identified and treated tens of thousands of tuberculosis patients who had previously suffered in silence.
In the process, we’ve made a lasting impact on Peru’s health systems, from driving scientific innovation—notably, with the launch of a tuberculosis research laboratory—to shaping health policy, proving that injustice has a cure.
Mothers and children in Carabayllo face several health challenges, including anemia, maternal mortality, and chronic malnutrition.
Driven by our mission to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care, we provide support for mothers, including nutritional counseling, health screenings, and referrals to local clinics and hospitals for care. We also support children with developmental delays through the Casita program, in which trained staff offer sessions for caregivers to teach them how to develop children’s physical, linguistic, and social skills through play.
We offer additional programming in sexual and reproductive health (including HIV), oral health, and chronic disease (including diabetes, hypertension, and cancer). We also provide social support for Carabayllo residents, such as food baskets and transportation fees to and from appointments, recognizing that access to health care depends on basic needs being met.
In Peru, it is estimated some 2 million people suffer from depression; 260,000 people suffer from schizophrenia.
To tackle these challenges, we partnered with the Ministry of Health to open Peru’s first-ever safe house for women living with schizophrenia and other mental health conditions. Our staff accompanies these residents with compassionate care, teaching them basic skills and encouraging them to further their education and career goals. Based on the success of our safe house, the government started in 2019 the expansion of this model across the country.
In addition to the safe house, we’ve also supported the launch of community mental health centers and facilitated community-based interventions.