Paul Farmer

Paul Farmer was a professor of global health at Harvard, an infectious disease physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a co-founder of Partners In Health. He died in Rwanda on 21 February 2022 at the age of 62.

The Caregivers’ Disease

Paul Farmer, 21 May 2015

Graham Greene​’s Journey without Maps is an account of a trek he made across West Africa in 1935. He started in Sierra Leone, then a British colony, crossed through a sliver of French Guinea, and then slogged across the Liberian jungle. The walk took an entire month. Not long after leaving French Guinea, Greene was almost felled by an unidentified fever. It was in these forests that...

Who Lives and Who Dies: Who survives?

Paul Farmer, 5 February 2015

What is it like to be a passenger on a bus, or standing in a cheering crowd at the finishing line of a marathon, in the seconds after a bomb goes off, when you know you’re hurt but not where or how badly? What’s it like to be a child who finds a discarded toy and picks up what turns out to be a landmine? What’s it like to be giving birth at home, and see blood pooling between your legs, and look up at the ashen faces of a birth attendant, a midwife, a spouse? What’s it like to feel the earth tremble and see the roof and walls of your home or school fall towards you?

Diary: Ebola

Paul Farmer, 23 October 2014

I have just returned from Liberia with a group of physicians and health activists. We are heading back in a few days. The country is in the midst of the largest ever epidemic of Ebola haemorrhagic fever. It’s an acute and brutal affliction. Ebola is a zoonosis – it leaps from animal hosts to humans – which is caused by a filovirus (a thread-like virus that causes internal and external bleeding). It was first described in 1976 in rural Congo, not far from the Ebola River, as an acute-onset syndrome characterised by complaints of weakness, followed by fever and abdominal pain.

Who removed Aristide?

Paul Farmer, 15 April 2004

“We know that US funds overtly financed the opposition, but did they also fund, even indirectly, the rebellion, which featured high-powered US weapons only a year after twenty thousand such weapons were promised to the Dominican Republic? The players on the Haitian side fall into one of two categories: first, Haiti’s business elite, including those who own the media, and then the former military and paramilitaries – the people who were involved in the 1991-94 coup. Some have been in jail since then for murder, drug trafficking and crimes against humanity. Today, every single one of them is out.”

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