Partners in Health: Free, Community-Based Health Programs for the World’s Poor

partnersinhealthSince its founding in 1985, Partners in Health (PIH) has become one of the world’s most respected non-governmental organizations due to its innovative community-based health programs.

What They Do

Partners for Health also provides free, preferential health care for impoverished residents of Haiti, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Peru, and even inner city Boston! Its programs focus primarily on improving health care access for women, children, and patients with HIV/AIDs and tuberculosis.

Partners in Health puts great emphasis on fighting the root causes of disease by improving local access to basic needs such as nutritious food, clean water, and decent housing, and the root causes of poverty by providing education, microloans, and other programs designed to help patients and their families lift themselves out of poverty.

Partners in Health’s flagship Haiti program revolves around the Zanmi Lasante (ZL) Sociomedical Complex, which includes a 104 bed hospital, outpatient and women’s health clinics, a laboratory, a Red Cross blood bank, several schools, and more. Together with its eight other sites around Haiti, Partners in Health provides health care access and services for more than 500,000 Haiti citizens. Following the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, Partners in Health was one of the first organizations helping people on the ground in Haiti thanks to its already existing infrastructure. In the first month after the earthquake, PIH treated nearly 5,000 critically injured patients and more than 50,000 other patients. It has also shipped more than 400 tons of medicines and other medical supplies, and assisted 10,000 Haitians and their families with assistance in the form of cash, food, educational support, agricultural assistance, and more. Today, it remains deeply involved in efforts to rebuild Haiti.

Partners in Health seeks to ensure the sustainability of its work around the world in several ways.

PIH trains members of the local community as health care providers and administrators, starting with community members trained to work as community health workers and going all the way up to physicians and hospital administrators. Through its other education programs, PIH provides education and training in everything from hygiene and sex education to basic business skills and permaculture.

Partners in Health is also very open about its methodology and approach to providing health care in the countries where it works, with the goal of helping other organizations duplicate its efforts in countries and among populations that PIH itself has not yet reached. PIH hosts an extensive library of resources for NGOs on its site, PIH Model Online, including the complete curriculum for its community health workers, HIV and TB training curricula, a number of case studies from the field, and more.

Partners for Health also has an advocacy wing of its organization, the Institute for Health and Social Justice, which uses research and education to advocate for policies that will improve health care access and other social justice issues around the world.

What You Can Do To Help

Partners in Health relies on donations to do its good work around the world. It is rated a four star charity by Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates charities based on a number of factors designed to measure their organizational efficiency and capacity.

You can donate to PIH or learn more about its great work around the world at

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