For those of you who have heard of Paul Farmer, you can probably imagine him in this scene: he is trudging for miles to visit patients in their homes as they struggle to fight their own health battles.
During my recent trip to Haiti, I stood by with my heart in my throat as I watched a nurse take away oxygen from a premature baby in order to give it to a mother in labor whose unborn child had a faltering heartbeat.
I watched a nurse in northern Haiti remove a clinic's only oxygen machine from a premature baby in order to give it to a woman suffering in labor. As a physician, I've felt helpless many, many times. This was different.
To truly improve the health of Haitians, the social and economic drivers of disease must be addressed. This means providing educational and occupational opportunities for all, as well as establishing a sustainable, modern public health system.