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Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook, Revised Edition Paperback – May, 1992
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The Hesperian Foundation has been selling (this) Third World medical manual at a brisk pace for more than 25 years...(This) classic public-health text has meant survival for thousands in the Third World since the early 1970s, according to officials from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Peace Corps...it stands as arguably the most widely use public-health manual in the world, according to WHO...WHO officials noted that since 1978, it, too, has adopted the kind of community-based approach to health care exemplified by (Where There Is No Doctor). Both WHO and UNICEF now buy (the book) for their field offices... --Monica Eng, Chicago Tribune
I consider Where There Is No Doctor my health bible. I carry it with me on every trip I take, and refer to it often. The information provided in this book is simple, straight forward, and easy to read. I would highly recommend that any person planning to serve overseas have a personal copy for reference. --Anita Good, Mennonite Central Committee, Honduras
Where There Is No Doctor is an indispensable resource...This book has been, quite literally, a lifesaver for the poor even where there is a doctor. --Paul Farmer, Harvard Medical School; Co-Founder, Partners in Health
Home health care manuals are a dime a dozen, but this one is in a league by itself...This amazing manual...successfully brings together modern concepts of public health and personal health care into a usable and understandable format for the Third World villager. If you are a physician, dentist or nurse planning to volunteer on a medical mercy mission, review this book ahead of time and take it with you. --Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 125, no.12
About the Author
A biologist and educator by training, David Werner is a long-time health activist in village health care, and community-based rehabilitation. He has worked in more than 50 countries helping to facilitate health workshops and training programs, and has been a consultant for UNICEF, WHO, UNDP, and the Peace Corps, and has received awards and/or fellowships from the World Health Organization, the American Pediatric Association, the American Medical Writers Association, and the MacArthur Foundation.
Carol Thuman, RN, FNP, MS, works at the Alameda County Medical Center, specializing in women's health care.
Jane Maxwell holds a master's degree in public health, and has additional training in both medical anthropology and journalism. Jane has worked in community-based health care settings in Mexico, Nepal, several countries in Africa, and with under-served urban communities in the United States.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
I'm happy with the purchase. I think it will help with my goal to treat more things at home & go to the doctors office less. This book is in plain English. Most of the time it's pretty blunt! There's little technical terms....it's not even PC : )
My favorite part of the book is the "general conditions of health" lessons. There are several pages on how to examine someone to evaluate the seriousness of their illness. There are specific instructions on what types of questions to ask, how to examine eyes, pulse, ears, nose & throat, skin, abdomen and muscles/nerves and look for any signs of illness. There are also pages on how to evaluate for shock and dehydration.
To me, this would be very helpful not only in times you can't get to a doctor, but in evaluating someone's condition to decide if a trip to the doctor is warranted. This knowledge could avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor, avoiding the expense, discomfort and hassle even when a doctor is available. In times of disruption of services or mass emergencies, such as a natural disaster, this information could prove to be invaluable.
There is also a great section on First Aid. Having the ability to evaluate & treat cuts of all sizes, burns and other injuries also could be invaluable at times of restricted medical access, as well as avoiding unnecessary trips to emergency rooms.
One of the best features of this book is the section teaching how to make your own Rehydration drink. In a situation with a serious illness where dehydration can be fatal, it would be a relief to know what to do. They tell you exactly what to use, and how much and how often to give it.
I marked this book down one star because I don't like the way it is organized. To me it is too hard to find categories of information I am looking for, although the content list in front is helpful. I think it's because it is laid out more like a book than a quick reference guide. The first chapter is on Home cures & beliefs and goes into everything from witchcraft to medicinal plants. I would like the first section of the book to be a quick reference to examination and triage. Then the subsequent chapters could go more heavily into detail on specific illnesses or injuries. Some of the pages in back are colored for easier reference. I think the rest of the book should be that way, or some other method of organization used. I'm going to use some sticky tabs to add my own markings for quicker finds.
There is a lot included in this book that I will likely never need as I don't travel much, and don't ever plan to treat or evaluate other human beings outside my family, but I understand it is largely written for areas with little or no access to professional medical services.
There is a lot of information in this book dealing with cleanliness due to lack of plumbing, etc. While obviously meant for 3rd world conditions, in a Katrina type situation, there may be some helpful tips or pointers. Most Americans already know the basics on sanitation, but might have a tougher time than we think with the practicality if ever faced with an emergency situation.
Lastly, I cannot help mentioning that I was a bit taken aback at first by a few of the illustrations in this book!! Most are just fine and helpful, but a few were a bit strange to me. For example, there are several illustrations of children and adults having diarrhea. I'm not sure who really needs a picture of that to understand the concept & accurately diagnose diarrhea! Other illustrations are just kind of comical.