Partners in Health

One of my all-time favorite charities is Partners in Health (PIH), which ranks as one of the most transparent and cost-effective charitable organizations in the world.

To highlight just one of many examples of its good work, it has been working for over a decade in the very poor African country of Lesotho, whose 2.1 million people endure some of the worst public health problems in the world. One out of four adults have HIV, the rate of tuberculosis—a nasty respiratory illness—is second only to South Africa, and the maternal mortality rate is at crisis levels. Consequently, the country has a life expectancy of just 54 years.

Since 2006, PIH has been working with Lesotho’s Ministry of Health to tackle these issues while strengthening the nation’s know-how and institutions. In 2014, the government launched its National Health Reform, relying on PIH to help implement a universal healthcare system. Seventy-two underfunded and understaffed health centers, which serve about 40 percent of the population, have been revamped with better staff and equipment. Each of the reformed districts now employs a primary health care coordinator, pharmacist, and data clerk; medicine distribution, record keeping, and communications between health facilities and with patients have improved markedly, leading to more effective health outcomes.

The results speak for themselves: from 2013 to 2017, the number of people tested for HIV has increased an incredible 432 percent, while the number of people treated for HIV has more than double. The number of immunized children has boosted to 53 percent, while deliveries in maternal facilities—which are safer for mother and child alike—have also more than doubled. A massive number of people have been cured of TB. Public trust in the medical system has increased, thus initiating a virtuous cycle wherein more people get the treatment they need. This collaborative effort could serve as a model for other poor nations.

That is the power of civil society staffed and funded by common folks, working together with the public sector. There are plenty of ways your dollar can go far. Check out their website here to learn more and to donate. Rest assured it will be money well spent.

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