Making Medicine Matter: The Not-So-Strange Case of Ebola in West Africa

Public lecture by Dr. Paul Farmer, Harvard Medical School.

Ambulance depot near western area Emergency Response Centre, Sierra Leone

Photo: UNMEER, Sierra Leone (Flickr)

What role should knowledge play in responding to, and preventing, human suffering?

In this lecture, Dr. Paul Farmer will draw on examples from recent Ebola outbreaks in Sierra Leone and Liberia.


Moderator: Dan Banik, Professor, SUM, UiO

The lecture is free and open to all, but requires registration.

About the lecture

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the accompanying 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are intended to serve as a comprehensive roadmap towards human progress. But roads have detours; not everyone agrees on the path forward; and some trails have yet to be blazed.

In this talk, Dr. Farmer will reflect on recent Ebola outbreaks as reminders that universities, and other founts and repositories of knowledge, have roles to play in responding to, and preventing, human suffering. To play these roles, universities must be more ambitious, radically inclusive, and focused on the problems of those left behind by human progress. Dr. Farmer will draw on examples from Sierra Leone and Liberia and focus on the current work of Partners In Health.

About the speaker

Dr. Farmer has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality.

Medical anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer has dedicated his life to improving health care for the world's poorest people. Dr. Farmer holds an M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he is the Kolokotrones University Professor and the Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston. Additionally, Dr. Farmer serves as the United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti.

He is Co-founder and Chief Strategist of Partners In Health (PIH), an international non-profit organization that since 1987 has provided direct health care services and undertaken research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. Dr. Farmer and his colleagues in the U.S. and abroad have pioneered novel community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings.

Dr. Farmer has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Bronislaw Malinowski Award and the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association, the Outstanding International Physician (Nathan Davis) Award from the American Medical Association, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and, with his PIH colleagues, the Hilton Humanitarian Prize. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, from which he was awarded the 2018 Public Welfare Medal.


The lecture is organized by the Oslo SDG Initiative in collaboration with the Centre for Development and the Environment's research group Power and Politics in Global Health, and their seminar series Global Health Unpacked, which is jointly organized with the Centre for Global Health, University of Oslo.

Published Aug. 20, 2018 11:40 AM - Last modified Oct. 6, 2020 1:38 PM