Did Paul Farmer get a consolation prize from Bill Clinton? That’s one possible reading of the news that the ex-president appointed Farmer, founder of Partners in Health and chair of Harvard University’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, to be UN deputy special envoy to Haiti.
Until last week, Farmer was rumored to be the leading candidate to head USAID, but then Farmer either pulled out, or the Obama Administration yanked him from the running. The Haiti post is certainly a good fit for Farmer, who has spent decades working in that country, pioneering innovative ways to treat HIV & TB in resource-poor settings. But deputy UN envoy is not quite the powerful perch some global HIV and TB advocates had envisioned for an infectious disease doctor who had dedicated his career to strengthening health care in the developing world.