Patient Capitalism

Jacqueline Novogratz founded and leads Acumen, a nonprofit that takes a businesslike approach to improving the lives of the poor. In her book “The Blue Sweater” she tells stories from the philanthropy, which emphasizes sustainable bottom-up solutions over traditional top-down aid.

What can health care charities learn from this alternative model?

Community Collaboration Provides Seamless Service For A Vulnerable Population

Photography: David Campion

When you are destitute or homeless, good health requires much more than medical care. It can involve a combination of housing, food, addiction, fragile mental or emotional health issues. Negotiating the maze of clinics and agencies that provide help is daunting. In Kelowna, B.C., the frontline workers made a simple decision to solve this problem. They would meet for an hour once a week and collaborate to organize coordinated plans for their clients. The idea was simple and cost-effective, and the results have been impressive. In their first year, Partners in Community Collaboration (PICC) successfully helped 123 people move off the street and into new lives.

For more information on Partners in Community Collaboration, contact:

Address: The Outreach Urban Health Unit Interior Health, Central Okanagan Primary Health Care 455 Leon Ave., Kelowna, BC V1Y 6J4

Phone: (250) 868-2239

More Frontline Health Stories

Finding out about wisdom teeth the hard way

In my 23 years of life, I’ve had health insurance for only 2 of them. Growing up, my Dad made just enough money so that I didn’t qualify for medicaid, but not enough to be able to purchase insurance. Despite this, my parents never denied me needed healthcare, charging everything to our version of health insurance: the credit card. But now, as a young adult watching my parents try to unbury themselves from a mountain of strangling medical debt, I’ve resolved to not let the same fate befall me. My version of health insurance? Do not go to the doctor until I am 99.9% sure I am dying.

This was working fairly well for me until last year. I was relatively healthy most of the time, and was astounded to learn how many things would go away on their own with no antibiotics.

Then, in the fall, a few months after moving to a new town for school, a bad flu knocked me to my feet. And since I had been off my asthma medications for over 4 years due to the prohibitive cost (not of the drugs themselves, which I had been on since I was 6, but of the doctor [...] continue the story

My Hands

Sunder is a 21-year-old young man whose both hands are crippled and desolately useless. He suffers from cerebral palsy. Born into a poor family of utensil-makers with five children, Sunders’ condition seems pathetically hopeless. The moment he raises up from the bed, his younger brother Santosh becomes his hands. Santosh tends Sunder like his own body by helping him with toileting, brushing his mouth and washing him up and any sort of food consumption. But Sunder has a secret. He attends high school and is currently in his pre-graduation. He has learned to use his foot as his hand. At night he studies by sitting in the bed beside a lantern. Sunder wishes to finish his graduation, find a job and support his poor family.

Life for a Child

Diabetes is fast emerging as one of the most serious health problems of our time – a global epidemic that claims more lives each year than HIV/AIDS. Children with diabetes in the developing world are particularly vulnerable. Many lack access to proper care and the life-saving medicines they need to survive. As a result, they become chronically ill; many die quickly, while others develop severe complications such as kidney failure, blindness and nerve damage. Directed by Academy Award-nominee Edward Lachman, the documentary “Life for a Child” follows the journeys of children with Type 1 diabetes amid the verdant mountains and swarming streets of Nepal, one the world’s poorest countries. Through their eyes and in their words, we experience their life-and-death struggle to survive – and, in fact, even thrive.