Excerpt from an article originally published in SF Gate.
“Bending the Arc,” an inspiring documentary about medical students who went on to redefine health care on a global scale, is a compelling tale about friendship and how dedicated individuals can make a difference and change the world. It’s a rousing, feel-good story about overcoming barriers, even when the challenges — poverty, lack of medical access — are inherently bleak.
It all starts in the 1980s, when idealistic medical students Paul Farmer and Jim Yong Kim meet at Harvard and decide to set up a health care clinic in Haiti, where there are plenty of poor folks but few doctors to treat them. The physicians’ goal seems good-hearted but confined to one small region, though their influence will eventually spread across the globe when they start fighting a drug-resistant form of tuberculosis.
That fight also takes them to South America, where Farmer and Kim scrape up money and medicine — against the wishes of the medical aid establishment — to treat patients who were considered too expensive to worry about. The strategy not only heals many ill folks, but it becomes a blueprint for saving millions of lives of HIV-positive people in Africa. Indeed, at the core of “Bending the Arc” is the belief that everyone on Earth should be entitled to health care, whether they are rich or poor.