Do something about Haiti
Saturday February 28, 2004 at 02:01 PM
I've met this Paul Farmer, he's a good guy. Info on his organization and State Dept contact info follows. I called the State Dept for the first time! It's easy...
Statement by Paul E. Farmer, M.D., Ph.D.
Founding Director, Partners In Health
February 27, 2004
The patients we treat in the central plateau of Haiti are some of the poorest and sickest people in the Western Hemisphere. They have been living and dying with life-threatening illnesses while lacking access to potable water, food, adequate housing, basic public health care services, education, and economic opportunity. For the past 20 years, Partners In Health has worked alongside its Haitian colleagues to build a network of institutions designed to address these illnesses and deficiencies. Today, the horrors of violent death, brutality, and looting have been added to their burdens. Tomorrow, they may only be able to expect political chaos and the destruction of their democracy.
History teaches us that when military and paramilitary groups in Haiti increase their power, the poor?s access to health care decreases. From 1991 to 1994, the last years of military rule, many sick people were afraid to leave their homes for desperately needed care, often dying from treatable diseases as a result. Partners In Health now provides treatment for those same diseases by making daily contact with patients in the countryside ? an increasingly dangerous endeavor. This morning, two of our vehicles were commandeered in an act reminiscent of the May, 2003, attack on the hydroelectric dam in Peligre. In that prior event, two security guards were killed and several of our personnel taken hostage; an ambulance was stolen. The perpetrators of those crimes were again former military and paramilitary personnel, who have scant regard, it would seem, for health care or for those who provide such services.
Throughout their country's history of slavery and oppressive rulers, Haitians have never had a fair chance to govern themselves. Even in the past few years, their opportunity to strengthen their democracy and rebuild a healthy Haiti was thwarted by the withholding of more than $500 million in aid by the United States and other nations. This aid blockade has set the stage for much of the misery we see in our clinics and hospitals.
Many people suffering from treatable conditions will die unnecessarily unless the international community acts immediately to provide a security force to halt the rising violence and restore stability for the democratically elected government. This may literally be the least we can do for the people who have the least.
Partners In Health (PIH) is a nonprofit corporation with a presence in Latin America, the Caribbean, Russia, and the United States. We coordinate innovative programs to combat AIDS and women's health problems in rural Haiti and urban Massachusetts, groundbreaking tuberculosis treatment projects in the prisons of Siberia and the shantytowns of Lima, and health policy initiatives on a global scale. Our mission is both medical and moral.
Call the State Department at 202.647.5291 or 202.647.7098, leave a message for Secretary of State Colin Powell or one of the Haiti Desk Officers, Joseph Tilghman Phone: 202.647.5088 email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Lawrence Connell Phone: 202.647.6765 email: ConnellLF@state.gov
Ask them to:
Send immediate humanitarian aid to Haiti.
Support the immediate disbursement of humanitarian loans to Haiti.
Sever all ties to those seeking to overturn Haiti's democracy by violent force, or who support such objectives.
Contribute to an international police force in order to quell the violence and prevent a coup in the region.