Partners In Health
Partners In Health is a Harvard-linked program committed to improving health in poor communities. Its goal is to make a “preferential option for the poor in health care” by working with community-based organizations in “pragmatic solidarity.” Towards this aim, PIH offers technical and financial assistance, obtains funding and medical supplies, and helps administer its partner projects.
Most of the work has been done in close association with sister organizations in Haiti, Peru, Mexico, and the United States, particularly in Roxbury.
Although founded in 1987, the roots of the organization go back to 1938 when work was begun in Haiti with a collective that is now called “Zanmi Lasante”–creole for “partners in health.” In 1956, Haiti’s largest river was dammed as part of an international development project, flooding the village of Cange and leaving its residents homeless. For years, Cange consisted of a few shanties and a dispirited core of “water refugees,” who had been forced to move to less fertile land. Gradually, Zanmi Lasante and the people of Cange built a large school and completed a project to bring clean water to the dusty settlement. Cange began to resemble a real village. Partners in Health grew out of this work and determination.
Partners in Health founded the Cambridge-based Institute for Health and Social Justice in 1983. Serving as the academic and educational arm of PIH, it attempts to examine the influence of poverty and other inequalities on disease by linking scholarly analysis with commuity-based experience.
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