In Mountains Beyond Mountains, how does Paul Farmer use his anthropological background to improve healthcare for the poor in Haiti?

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thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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Paul Farmer uses his anthropological background to improve healthcare for the poor in Haiti. Anthropology refers to the study of a people including their culture, beliefs and socio-economic evolution. The knowledge about the cultures and belief of the haitian people helped Farmer to come up with solutions in their healthcare system. For instance Farmer ensured that his patients took their medication inspite of some of them being superstitious with no faith in modern medicine. When he was challenged by other doctors about the noncompliance issue he states “If the patient doesn't get better, it’s your own fault.” He understood the poverty facing the people and their challenges in accessing medication. Through this understanding Farmer was able to offer solutions regardless of the rules. For instance he helps a HIV patient acquire less damaging but illegal medication. Through his studies in Anthropology Farmer understood that it is important to deal with socio-economic issues which cause diseases that afflict the people in order to truly cure the disease.  This is seen through his non-profit organization Partners in Health whose mission apart from offering medical assistance seeks to address other social issues especially those related with poverty, impoverishment and oppression. 

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