Partners in Health: Using tech to cure the world

An MIT press release came across my desk this week about Partners in Health (PIH), the Boston-based, international health and human rights group. PIH has begun using PDAs in Peru to help track and treat drug-resistant TB patients, who need two years of intensive therapy.   

MIT PhD candidate Joaquin Blaya launched the PDA project in Lima,with PIH’s Peruvian sister organization. Socios en Salud.

“The way to solve healthcare problems is by involving the community,” Blaya says in the release.  Community health workers are key to the PHI approach.

More from the release:  

 Peruvian health care workers enthusiastically embraced the program, which started in two of Lima’s districts and has now been expanded to all five. In addition to saving time, the handheld devices are also more cost-effective than the paper-based system, the researchers reported recently in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

 You can find that abstract here. Click here for an article on how the PDA reduced errors and workload.

 For more on PIH see www.pih.org.  They’ve launched something called Health and Social Justice Video Network. Deserves a blog entry of its own.

For a literary perspective, see Tracy Kidder’s book-length portrait of PIH founder Dr. Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains.

Also see my story on PIH from The Boston Phoenix.  

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