Partners in Health spoke to Josef Korbel School students about how community based treatments make big differences for Peruvian tuberculosis patients. Elaine Weisman, Partners’ Peru coordinator, represented their South American partner Socios en Salud in a talk sponsored by the Global Health Affairs Certificate Program and the student group Santé.
“The context of community helps bring that trust back into the healthcare system,” said Weisman. The personal follow-up and support is a large part of the Partners in Health treatment system. In addition to medical developments, Weisman noted the organization’s social justice orientation towards healthcare.
With tuberculosis causing around 4,500 deaths every year, Partners in Health is one of the leading advocators of DOTS (directly observed therapy short-course) and DOTS Plus for multiple drug resistant strains. Over the past decade, the transition in thought around tuberculosis has gone from calling patients low priority to creating national agendas, largely due to Partners in Health’s advocacy.
“We need to treat the person, not just the disease,” said Weisman. Socios en Salud developed in 1994 with a mandate to treat multiple drug resistant patients, who were at the bottom of the medical system at the time. The goal was to transition from full Socios support to mostly government support as the program grew; and Peru has integrated tuberculosis plans into their national health strategies.
Dr. Paul Farmer, subject of the bestselling biography Mountains Beyond Mountains, founded Partners in Health in Haiti and they now work in 12 countries.
- Sarah Crozier, MA Candidate, International Development
Josef Korbel School of International Studies