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on May 11, 2001
When we visit my wife's village in Ghana, this is almost the first thing that we pack. Anyone travelling to the less developed parts of the world should take a copy - and leave it there with someone who can use it. This is probably the most widely used medical reference book in the world - it has been translated into 80 languages. Its simple language, clear explanations and illustrations make essential medical knowledge accessible to anyone with basic literacy. The diagnostic charts are very straightforward and make it easy for a lay person to distinguish between diseases which can be easily confused. The treatments described are completely appropriate for village conditions. There is considerable emphasis on preventative health care and on health education. Anyone familiar with village life in underdeveloped countries will acknowledge that this book is an extraordinary achievement. For those who complain that it is not relevant to the United States: the book was written for "those who live far from medical centers, in places where there is doctor". However there is plenty of information which *is relevant* to a North American audience, particularly the section on nutrition. Anyone backpacking or camping in the more remote regions of the US would benefit from taking this a long.
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on December 15, 1999
This book does an excellent job of doing exactly what it promises to go: give the average, medically untrained person a good sense of how to look at a health care situation and respond to it intelligently.
I have been active training people in wilderness emergency care for some years now, and this is one of the books that I always recommend.
When a friend of mine went to live in Russia (in the Siberia area) I recommended that he take along a paramedic manual and this book. Both books served him well, but he referred to this book much more often.
Overall, for a person who is going to be in a medically isolated area and/or in an area where the general level of health knowledge is low, this is an absolutely outstanding book.
This company also published "Where There Is No Dentist" and "The Village Midwife." Both are excellent. They recently came out with another great book titled "Where Women Have No Doctor." I really like and respect the work these people do.
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on January 20, 2004
This book is written in very easy to read english. Which is part of its value. Not being in the medical field and if I had to deliver a baby in the bush in Africa I want the book to be written as simply as possible. The drawings are a bit better than stick men but they get the point across. My wife and I lived in West Africa and quite often in the bush. Places where you do not find a doctor and the hospitals are less than our American medicine cabinets. This book has helped through malaria; yellow fever; insect bites; dehydration; water purification; etc. These were areas that we truly faced and the book took us through. Yes, we survived!! If you know anyone in the 3rd. world, do them a great service and get them this book. No missionary or business men to the 3rd. world have any business leaving without this book.
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on November 18, 2007
This book was designed for primitive health care. It isn't set up to turn the layman into a surgeon.
For what it is; it does an excellent job. A huge block of it has little use here in the states, but there is at least one good tip on every page. Once you move past the political and socioeconomic points, it's a wonderful learning tool.

One thing that is often over looked; Hesperian the publisher distributes this and countless other books for FREE. Their whole philosophy is medicine should be cheap or free and is a world wide entitlement not a privilege.
HINT, HINT go to Hesperian.org and while your at it Google "Ships Captains Medical Guide." This is also a free down load and packed full of good info.
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on August 8, 2001
This book is amazing! I worked in Guatemala for around 8 months in community development, with a rural indigenous pueblo. We tried to get in as many doctors as possible, but when that failed, we could always use this book--the diagrams of each disease (especially the skin diseases, prevalent in Central America) helped us to decide how to address each person's health concerns. I only wish there was a copy in K'iche' for the community leaders to have to use!
The forms included in the book for basic check ups and keeping medical records will be helpful in the future when we set up a clinic. I can't emphasize what a straight forward, useful, and practical book this is. If you intend to work anywhere in a developing country, with health or not, you need this book.
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on June 23, 1999
If you are the kind of person who would travel the third world by bus, then this book is for you. Five star hotel types need not apply.
I found this book useful in diagnosing and treating tropical diseases like parasites, malaria and hepatitis-A. Bubbles in the stool, blood and mucus, how do you sort these tell tale signs out. "Where There Is No Doctor" helps you do this. I even used it to diagnose a case of celebral meningitis and saved the kids life by getting him to the nearest hospital which was 100 miles away. His parents thought it was a case of possession.
The information on drugs and doses is also useful, especially in situtations where prescription drugs, heaven forbid, can be bought without a prescription. But then again, that's where you use this book -- Where there is no Doctor. Don't leave home without it.
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on January 13, 2000
We have been taking medical work teams to Haiti for several years. Our teams have used so many copies of this book to help us through so many diagnosis and treatment problems. We work in remote areas with no other medical help and this book has helped us through many situations! It is so creative.
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on April 21, 2003
Excellent book for people traveling to relatively undeveloped countries to help people there. Not the best book for do it yourself medicine unless you will be very far out in the wilderness and have almost no previous nowledge. This books deals with things like basic hygiene, and how to avoid cavities by not eating sugar and instead eating a balanced diet. It can be used by someone who is semi-literate in English.
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on January 3, 2007
This is an invaluable book for travel to the less developed parts of our shared world. I have given several copies to villagers for their empowerment when little medical help was available. As a physician I found the book both readable and accurate and as a priest the concern for the poor was evident and despite my opposition to abortion on the whole I can still recommend it. Chuck Petit+
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on May 29, 2007
Judging this book by its intended purpose it looks very good. Many things are basic like cleanliness, diet, don't smoke ciggarettes, etc. But I thought some were not so basic (and I couldn't find them in my boy scout manual). For example:

Page 67: the possible medicines needed for injection (Appendicitis - ampicillin or penicillin with streptomycin, syphilis - benzathine penicillin, gonorrhea - kanamycin, etc).

Page 154: six different vaccinations and the reccomended ages.

Page 169: a flowchart to care for a person with acute diarrhea (when would you give them metonidazole, or co-trimoxazole, or ampicillin?).

Page 180: treatment for pneumonia.

Page 208-210 chart: 38 different types of skin problems which include onthocerciasis, vitiligo, and kwashiorkor.

ETC.

Also the basic stuff is so well laid out that I could see it helping a worker organize their thoughts along the lines of "What do I need to check?" or "What do I need to teach those who don't know the basics?". If you were in a remote situation, people were sick wanting you to help them NOW, and THERE WAS NO DOCTOR this manual would be very reassuring to have. Stress can make you forget basics. Or maybe if you were in the States and couldn't afford health insurance and wanted to be sure you were in true need before you went to the doctor who will bill you for walking in the door?
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