Zanmi Zanmi Lasante

by Anjali Sastry on February 11, 2010

Clearly, I speak no Kreyòl, but the idea I was aiming for with this heading that plays on the “Friends in Health” translation of Zanmi Lasante: we’ve been thinking of our friends at Partners In Health in Haiti. Exactly a year ago, Dr Louise Ivers joined some 50 MIT students and several faculty for a 90-minute class discussion and then several of us spent three more hours of talking over dinner. Everyone from MIT left the evening inspired by the conversation with her and excited about the ideas we’d discussed. Take a look at the detailed blog post on Dr. Ivers and Zanmi Lasante that we prepared then, to give you a sense of the discussion and of what we learned of her experience.

We learned from a column in the New Yorker entitled Doctor in the Rubble that Dr. Ivers was in Port au Prince during the earthquake, and since then followed her thoughts: here’s an editorial she wrote for the Irish Times. To say that it underscores the need for improving global health delivery is, of course, an understatement. A recent Boston Globe article conveys some more about the work of Partners In Health/Zamni Lasante.

Stand With HaitiAdding our personal support to Stand with Haiti felt like the right thing to do; click on the left link. And in a jam-packed room at Harvard, Paul Farmer and colleagues recently talked about the needs to continue this work–and the key role of global health delivery: read about the discussion, or watch it yourself.

What can you do? Educate yourself: explore this blog site (where resources are being reorganized and expanded) to learn more about global health delivery; make the most of the opportunities emerging from the MIT Media Lab’s Krik?…. Krak! cluster of activities or take a look at a sampling of posts about MIT-related developments connected to Haiti from Joost Bonsen’s blog.  There’s even a project in the new System Dynamics applications class that we’ll post more on later.

Learn more about the relief effort from OneResponse, about needs from Ushahidi (and if you find the technology behind it interesting, check out my post on Stop Stockouts), or follow Haiti stories from a news source like the BBC. More materials are needed, more information is needed, and the kinds of work that MIT can help with–from measuring and managing to crunching data and hacking technology–is needed. So learn some more and figure out how to put your skills and effort and resources to use: it may be that data entry or synthesizing reports is the most valuable thing you can do, and it might make a big difference.

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