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American doctors arrive in Liberia

A high-level delegation from an international social justice and health organization, Partners in Health (PIH), is in the country to hold discussions with relevant partners on the Ebola outbreak here. The delegation, led by the co-founder of the organization, Paul Edward Farmer, is jointly in Liberia with a partner institution, Last Mile Health (LMH).

According to an Executive Mansion release, the objective of the team’s visit includes seeking the guidance of the Government on the proposed set of immediate response programs to be implemented by the coalition in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the County Health Teams, including managing an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in southeastern Liberia as well as scaling up community-based interventions.

The delegation will also discuss strategies for ensuring that the global response works to strengthen national and county-level institutions by building local capacity (public and private, including for community-based care for Ebola and other diseases).

Last Mile Health, also known in Liberia as Tiyatien Health, is delivering comprehensive community-based health care and health systems strengthening in remote regions in Liberia, particularly in Grand Gedeh County. The group also builds capacity at the national and county levels and support partners in Government in strengthening and improving national community health policy and practice.

Partner in Health works in several countries throughout the world including Haiti, Rwanda, Lesotho, Mexico, Malawi, Peru, Russia, United States, among others to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. They strive to achieve the overarching goal of bringing the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need of them.

Farmer is an American epidemiologist, an anthropologist and physician who is best known for his humanitarian work providing suitable healthcare to rural and under-resourced areas in developing countries, beginning in Haiti.

Farmer is formerly the Presley Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also an attending physician and Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

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He was named chairman of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health in 2009, succeeding Jim Yong Kim, his longtime friend and collaborator, who was appointed President of the World Bank in 2012. The delegation will also hold talks with President Sirleaf. The team will depart Liberia on Saturday.

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