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Africa: House Calls and Health Care


Project Name: Partners in Health
Challenge: Treating chronic disease in poor countries with overstressed health systems, like Rwanda.
Solution: A model that uses local villagers to deliver life saving medicines.

What's the best way to keep people out of the hospital and healthy at home? There's one solution: house calls. On September 11, travel with NOW to Rwanda to look at a model developed by Partners in Health, a group dedicated to fighting long term diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. In Rwanda, cheap drugs are available but unless patients take them carefully and regularly, these illnesses can develop tough to treat and very expensive resistance. So Partners in Health employs local villagers to deliver life saving treatments on schedule. The program has saved lives and dollars by keeping people well...with the added plus of boosting the local economy through jobs. It's all part of investing in people to bring a country out of poverty.

"I would say if the goal is to break the cycle of poverty and disease, then you're going to have to take on the ranking health problems" says Dr. Paul Farmer, the co-founder of Partners in Health. " You're not going to be able to break that cycle without investments."



Enterprising Ideas is a project of NOW on PBS, with support from:

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