Paul Farmer, Pioneer of Global Health, Dies at 62

Paul Farmer, Pioneer of International Well being, Dies at 62

Paul Farmer, a doctor and anthropologist who sought to deliver high-quality well being care to a few of the world’s poorest folks, died on Monday in Rwanda. He was 62.

Companions in Well being, the worldwide public well being group that Dr. Farmer co-founded, announced his loss of life in a press release that didn’t specify the trigger. Dr. Farmer beforehand lived in Rwanda and spent many years targeted on enhancing its well being care system.

Dr. Farmer gained public renown thanks largely to “Mountains Past Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Treatment the World,” a 2003 book by Tracy Kidder. It informed Dr. Farmer’s life story and celebrated his devotion to serving to the neediest.

After he graduated from school in 1982, Dr. Farmer lived for years amongst Haiti’s poorest farmers, sleeping for just one or two hours an evening as he arrange a brand new medical infrastructure.

He finally returned to america to attend Harvard Medical Faculty and earn a level in anthropology, however he continued to spend a lot of his time in Cange, the group the place he constructed his first clinic, returning to Harvard for exams and laboratory work.

Through the years that adopted, Dr. Farmer raised thousands and thousands of {dollars}, which have been funneled to an ever-expanding community of group well being services. He had a contagious enthusiasm; when Thomas White, who owned a big building firm in Boston, requested to fulfill him, he insisted that the assembly happen in Haiti.

Mr. White turned a core donor, and contributed $1 million in seed cash to Companions in Well being, which Dr. Farmer based in 1987, together with Ophelia Dahl, one other volunteer in Haiti, and a former Duke classmate, Todd McCormack.

The clinic in Haiti, at first a single room, grew, over time, right into a hospital and adjoining nursing faculty, serving a group of greater than 150,000 folks.

Dr. Farmer turned a public well being luminary, the topic of a 2017 documentary, “Bending the Arc,” and the writer of 12 books. The newest, “Fevers, Feuds and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of Historical past,” sought to dispel the extra lurid misconceptions in regards to the sickness and deal with the dearth of well being care necessities in higher West Africa.

“For all their rainfall,” Dr. Farmer wrote, “their residents are stranded within the medical desert.”

In 2020, Dr. Farmer acquired the $1 million Berggruen Prize, given yearly to an individual whose concepts have “profoundly formed human self-understanding and development in a quickly altering world.”

The chairman of the prize committee, Kwame Anthony Appiah, stated Dr. Farmer had “reshaped our understanding” of “what it means to deal with well being as a human proper and the moral and political obligations that comply with.”

Dr. Farmer’s survivors embrace his spouse, Didi Bertrand Farmer, a researcher for Companions in Well being, and their kids, Elizabeth, Catherine and Sebastian.

A full obituary will likely be printed quickly.

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