Dr Paul Farmer, healthcare advocate for some of world’s poorest, dies aged 62

Dr Paul Farmer, a physician, humanitarian and author renowned for providing healthcare to millions of impoverished people worldwide and who co-founded the global non-profit Partners in Health, has died. He was 62.

The Boston-based organization confirmed Farmer’s death on Monday, calling it “devastating” and noting he unexpectedly died in his sleep from an acute cardiac event while in Rwanda, where he had been teaching.

Farmer was a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the division of global health equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He wrote extensively on health, human rights and social inequality.

“A compassionate physician and infectious disease specialist, a brilliant and influential medical anthropologist, and among the greatest humanitarians of our time – perhaps all time – Paul dedicated his life to improving human health and advocating for health equity and social justice on a global scale,” wrote George Q Daley, dean of Harvard University’s Faculty of Medicine, in a statement.

Partners in Health, founded in 1987, said its mission is “to provide a preferential option for the poor in healthcare”. The organization began its work in Cange, a rural village in Haiti’s central plateau, and later expanded its operations to regions including Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

The Pulitzer prize-winning author Tracy Kidder, who wrote the nonfiction book Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World, said the two traveled together for a month as Farmer treated prisoners and impoverished people in Haiti, Moscow and Paris.

“He was an important figure in the world,” Kidder said. “He had a way of looking around corners and of connecting things. He couldn’t obviously go and cure the whole world all by himself, but he could, with help of his friends, give proof of possibility.”

One of Kidder’s strongest memories of Farmer occurred in Peru, where the doctor was…

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