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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Boston doctor fasting for debt relief for Haiti
A Boston doctor is fasting for three days as part of a national push to cancel Haiti's debt to the developed world.
Dr. Evan Lyon, a hospitalist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and a researcher in its division of social medicine and healthcare inequalities, has worked in Haiti for the past 10 years through Dr. Paul Farmer's organization, Partners in Health.
Because of his connection to Haiti, Lyon got involved with the Jubilee USA Network, a coalition of 80 religious denominations across the country that wants Congress to cancel the debt of 26 countries and make it easier for other nations to find financial relief.
"Hunger is the most important issue that we see" in Haiti, Lyon said in an interview yesterday, the second day of having only one small meal and water. "It's not uncommon for the people I take care of to come into the clinic not having eaten for one or two days. I chose to take this fast on with the understanding that for me it's a pretty modest thing to do."
Jubilee, which has organized a 40-day fast across the country that began Sept. 6, takes its inspiration from the biblical meaning of a jubilee year. Debts are canceled and slaves are freed every seven years, according to the book of Leviticus. The Jubilee Act is awaiting a hearing before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, according to the network.