Partners In Health (PIH) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. PIH is an international medical organization committed to improving the health of the poor and marginalized. PIH challenges the standards of what’s acceptable – and raises the standards of what’s possible – in some of the world’s poorest communities through a model of research, service and training. We work with local and international partners to increase life expectancies by providing people access to modern medicine, strengthening public health systems, and addressing the root social and economic causes of poor health and disease: lack of access to clean water, healthy food, stable housing, education and economic opportunity. PIH works in 12 countries around the world.
What We Do
The PIH® model of care – partnering with poor communities to combat disease and poverty. Today, PIH has transplanted and adapted its model of care to the epicenter of the HIV pandemic in Africa, launching projects in Rwanda in 2005 and Lesotho in 2006. Elements of PIH’s community-based approach have been disseminated to and adapted by other countries and programs throughout the world.
Service - Service is the defining feature of PIH’s work, our trademark. We serve our patients, their communities, and the cause of equitable access to health care and other basic human rights. Inspired by the liberation theology movement that brought purpose and hope to millions of people in Latin America during the 1980s, we practice pragmatic solidarity, standing with our patients in their struggle for health and social justice.
Training - By training physicians, nurses, health workers, and administrators in settings of poverty, we are developing a new generation of healthcare providers able to deliver comprehensive, community-based care through the PIH model in even the poorest and most remote places.
Advocacy - Through the Institute for Health and Social Justice, Partners In Health (PIH) works to make the right to health a reality by mobilizing resources, informing and influencing policy, and helping to build a movement to fight for health and social justice.
Reserach - We translate our lived experience serving the destitute sick into research that is broadly disseminated in the scholarly literature and at academic and scientific conferences and meetings around the world. And we translate our research into action to improve both our service in impoverished communities and our advocacy on behalf of health care and social justice for the poor.
Medical Informatics - Partners In Health designed and deployed its first web-based Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system in 2001 to manage the treatment of patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) at PIH’s sister organization in Peru, Socios En Salud (SES). Since, the EMR has proved to be a valuable clinical and programmatic tool. With data input from physicians, nurses, and local data entry staff, the EMR captures information that can be used to track patient care and clinical outcomes, analyze aggregate results, manage and forecast drug inventory needs, and generate reports for funding agencies. The system is also designed to function when not connected to a network, using an application that allows data to be entered and viewed when the Internet is unavailable and then synchronizes the data when the connection is restored.
The five fundamental principles of our work are:
1. Access to primary health care
When quality primary health care is accessible, the community develops new faith in the health system, which results in increased use of general medical services as well as services for more complex diseases. Therefore, PIH integrates infectious disease interventions within a wide range of basic health and social services.
2. Free health care and education for the poor
Because both health and education are fundamental routes to development, it is counterproductive to charge user fees for health care and education to those who need these services most and can afford them least. PIH works to ensure that cost does not prevent access to primary health care and education for the poor.
3. Community partnerships
Health programs should involve community members at all levels of assessment, design, implementation, and evaluation. Community health workers may be family members, friends, or even patients who provide health education, refer people who are ill to a clinic, or deliver medicines and social support to patients in their homes. They are a vital interface between the clinic and the community. In recognition of the critical role they play, they should be compensated for their work.
4. Addressing basic social and economic needs
Achieving good health outcomes requires attending to peoples’ social and economic needs. Through community partners, PIH works to improve access to food, shelter, clean water, sanitation, education, and economic opportunities.
5. Serving the poor through the public sector
While nongovernmental organizations have a valuable role to play in developing new approaches to treating disease, successful models must be implemented and expanded through the public sector to assure universal and sustained access. Rather than establish parallel systems, PIH works to strengthen and complement existing public health infrastructure.
Where We Work:
Partners In Health currently works with partner organizations and national ministries of health to operate projects in twelve countries – Haiti, Lesotho, Malawi, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Guatemala, and Burundi.
Issues We Face:
- Women's Health
- Child Health
- Food, Water, Housing
- Community Health Workers
Where is Partners In Health