The Equity Imperative


“There is no correlation between money and what you can offer your people,” said Rwandan Minister of Health Agnes Binagwaho. “Money is not the obstacle; your vision is the obstacle.”

Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at BWH, introduced Binagwaho to the audience gathered on July 23 at Harvard School of Public Health. Binagwaho was a guest speaker at Harvard’s Global Health Effectiveness Program, which is co-directed by Joseph Rhatigan, MD and Rebecca Weintraub, MD, both Associate Physicians in BWH’s Division of Global Health Equity.

Over the next two hours, Binagwaho shared how reforms in Rwanda’s health care sector had produced stunning results: Despite a GDP of less than $1000 per capita, life expectancy in Rwanda has doubled since 2004. Continue reading “The Equity Imperative”

A Day in the Life of a Global Health Physician


Rajesh Panjabi, MD, has a secret to balancing his work as a global health physician with his personal life as husband and father to a young son: the support and love of his wife, Amisha, a psychologist at the VA in Bedford, MA.

Dr. Panjabi, a native of Liberia, was profoundly impacted by his family’s experience fleeing the country during its civil war.  As a 9 year old boy, he and his family escaped in a cargo plane to resettle in North Carolina. The memory of all those left behind on the tarmac is what he calls the “clarifying moment” that inspired him to make the commitment to return one day.  He honored that commitment in 2005 when he returned as a medical student working with other survivors of Liberia’s civil war and American colleagues to form Tiyatien Health, now known in the United States as Last Mile Health.

Continue reading “A Day in the Life of a Global Health Physician”