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Paul Farmer, Partner to the Poor Essay


The text highlights detailed health issues relating to epidemiology. Many diseases have been mentioned by the author. The causes of such diseases are also mentioned.

Many people have certain beliefs regarding particular diseases. For instance, sorcery has often been confused by some societies as been the cause of some particular diseases. On the contrary, scientists have been able to refute these claims by confirming that microbes are indeed the causative agents of many such diseases.

It should be noted that modern medicine is both a formidable walled fortress and a standing rebuke to specializations. According to the authors, modern medicine is the one true humanistic discipline on which everything impinged to all human species fall within the borders of its survey.

The authors provide many specific examples of how Farmer has fought against particular cultural beliefs within particular societies directed towards epidemiology.

For instance, a 1983 study on the basis of 1,641 HIV cases in the United States and Puerto Rico observed that groups at highest risk of acquiring AIDS continue to be homosexual and bisexual men, intravenous drug users, persons born in Haiti and now living in the United States and those patients who are living with hemophilia (Farmer, Saussy & Kidder 3).

The study also revealed that six percent of the cases cannot be placed in one of the above groups. Thus, a critical analysis of this study can be used to refute the traditional cultural claims that some diseases are caused by sorcery.

The authors have also tried to do an analysis of the outcome gap of a particular disease. Many societies have been reported to blame victims of particular diseases, and in this case HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis. Blaming the victim of these particular diseases usually casts the sufferer as the source of the disease.

This is a crude version of a strategy of despair that Farmer has repeatedly challenged in his career (Farmer, Saussy & Kidder 3). Many opinions of whether the distribution of antiretroviral drugs in Africa would suffice were aired by the officials of the U.S. Agency for International development and the Department of Treasury.

The texts explains how the officials contended that distributing these drugs would be irresponsible and futile since the African and Asian people lacked ‘the western sense of time’ and could not be taught to take regular medical prescriptions (Farmer, Saussy & Kidder 5).

They further argued that distribution would be hindered due to the lack of paved roads and the absence of refrigeration. These factors have been considered by the authors of the text as not essential in delivering first rate HIV care.

The authors also describe the initial steps of preliminary assessment to illnesses. They include applying several different varieties for cultural analysis, one after another, in an attempt to clarify the nature of the illness and then comparing the results (Farmer, Saussy & Kidder 53). A detailed study of infant feeding in Haiti indicated that there was an alarming increase in the ‘spoiled milk syndrome’.

Their rural informants believed that it is possible for the milk of a lactating mother to gate, to spoil and turn it into a poisonous substance that may, instead of nourishing the baby, harm or kill it.

Thus the women would let gate wean their children (Farmer, Saussy & Kidder 53). This is to explain the many factors involved in the determination of the onset of some particular diseases. Apart from that cultural belief, there are also other factors such as degradation of the economy.

The dimension of the problem of HIV in Haiti is such that the prevalence of HIV in Haiti is discussed critically by the authors of this book. The study of HIV in Haiti has been done by various organizations thereby giving similar results. Some of the studies were done among the seronegative health workers who were attending HIV positive patients. In such situations, it was detected that HIV is not easily spread by non sexual contact.

It has also been discovered that the socioeconomically disadvantaged have higher rates of disease than those not hampered by such constraints. The mechanisms and processes that transform social factors into personal risks have also been discussed in this book. They include forces such as sexism, poverty, and political violence that usually become embodied as individual pathology.

Each day three thousand women become infected, and five hundred infected women die (Farmer, Saussy & Kidder 121). It is true that AIDS has been entangled with stigma in many ways. That is why in rural Haiti, social responses were often tied to accusations of sorcery, a system of attitudes with deep roots in Haiti’s history as a slave colony.

In relation to the AIDS and Tuberculosis epidemics various studies have correlated data from Haiti and Rwanda. The epidemics in the two countries have been found to be caused by different genetic subtypes. For instance it is quite evident that the Haitian epidemic is indeed caused by the subtype B (Farmer, Saussy & Kidder 137).

In addition to the above analysis, the authors have also discussed issues such as how Tuberculosis can be controlled. They also mention the prevalence of tuberculosis in different environments such as in prisons and its mortality (Farmer, Saussy & Kidder 213). Some case studies of three women have also been provided to depict how women can live with HIV positively.

Works Cited

Farmer Paul, Saussy Haun., & Kidder Tracy. Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader. California: University of California Press, 2010.

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IvyPanda. (2019, June 26). Paul Farmer, Partner to the Poor. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/paul-farmer-partner-to-the-poor/

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"Paul Farmer, Partner to the Poor." IvyPanda, 26 June 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/paul-farmer-partner-to-the-poor/.

1. IvyPanda. "Paul Farmer, Partner to the Poor." June 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/paul-farmer-partner-to-the-poor/.


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IvyPanda. "Paul Farmer, Partner to the Poor." June 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/paul-farmer-partner-to-the-poor/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Paul Farmer, Partner to the Poor." June 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/paul-farmer-partner-to-the-poor/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Paul Farmer, Partner to the Poor'. 26 June.

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