Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health, noticed something different about the recent Ebola breakout from others. Ebola was automatically assumed to have been a death sentence or very near to one, with a fatality rate of 90%. In the recent breakout, the fatality rate has dipped, in some places, to as low as 50% in affected African countries, and none of the healthcare workers who traveled to Africa to help treat the disease have come down with it when they returned.
Famer thinks this is attributable to the quality of care. The Farmer Group is setting up treatment facilities in Liberia’s rural provinces. The idea is that facilities will be decentralized and focus on a smaller number of patients while providing top-quality care. The epidemic has been exacerbated by healthy people quarantined along with the infected, and other types of mismanagement. “It’s a very natural, about-damn-time, progression.” Jim Kim, President of the World Bank, is a co-founder of Partners in Health. Raj Panjabi of Last Mile Health is also participating in the project.
George Soros’s Open Society Foundation donated $4 million to Farmer’s project to treat and lessen the cases of Ebola. Chris Stone, the organization’s president, said, “The coalition got us a proposal the next day, they answered all our questions the day after, and we got them the funds they needed before the week was out.”