Dr. Paul Farmer:
Moving From Aid to Accompaniment
Written by Plant With Purpose on April 10, 2014 in General, News & Events
The audience at Point Loma Nazarene University’s “An Evening With Paul Farmer” was filled with people ready to create solutions to some of the world’s most overwhelming issues. Addressing this group, Dr. Farmer shared his conviction that we live in a time where solutions to these issues are within grasp. He encouraged his listeners to work together to make a difference.
Plant With Purpose co-sponsored the April 9 event. Prior to the evening, executive director Scott Sabin shared, “Haiti has seen many relief groups, doctors, and humanitarian organizations come and go throughout the years, but few people have had the success and shown the dedication to remain with the people of Haiti as Paul Farmer has.”
Dr. Farmer has given his medical career to fight for global health equity. His organization, Partners In Health, packages important health services and makes them accessible to all people, especially the poor and vulnerable. By investing his life in finding innovative solutions to global health crises, Dr. Farmer has seen extraordinary results in fighting AIDS and tuberculosis, while ensuring effective follow-up care for the poor and marginalized in Haiti and Rwanda. Most recently, Partners In Health has seen astounding success in decreasing mortality rates across the board in Rwanda.
This long-term commitment to his patients is something that distinguishes Farmer’s approach to health. During his lecture, he spoke about moving “from aid to accompaniment” – that is, walking alongside those in need until there is no longer a need. This concept of accompaniment is a core value of Plant With Purpose, as our dedicated staff works to see lasting solutions in partnering communities.
As Farmer put it, “You do not get to decide who your neighbor is.” Rather than turning a blind eye to those in need, we are called to move closer to them and practice accompaniment. Farmer reminded his audience that our global system is not divided into three worlds. We are part of the same world, and it’s time to stop dividing and start working together, creating solutions, healing the hurting, and solving the world’s most pressing issues.
Prior to the event, Dr. Paul Farmer spoke with San Diego’s local NPR station. Listen to the interview here.