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Review of Hesperian Foundation’s “Where There Is No Doctor”

where there is no doctor
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Who doesn’t like detailed and helpful free resources? In this post, we will review and provide a link for an excellent guide called Where There Is No Doctor. Written by Hesperian Health Guides, this ebook is an excellent resource for anyone that is traveling to a tropical or developing world country.

Wide ranging content

Where There Is No Doctor covers everything from malaria to typhoid to more obscure diseases that you might not even be familiar with. What’s more, since it is a document focused on health education, the book helps break down the confusion between different diseases that may have similar symptoms. For example, have a look at the excerpt below which compares several fever causing illnesses and serves to point out the differences.

I can think of more than one occasion where I would have loved to know this information, the differences between the fever caused by malaria and typhoid in particular!

Incredibly clear explanations

This guide has been written so that almost anyone can pick it up and have a reasonable understanding of many different diseases, prevention techniques, symptoms, and treatment options. After all, it’s called “where there is no doctor” – they planned for this to be a resource to use in a variety of situations, including emergencies where, yes, there really is no doctor present.

An invaluable glossary

Tacked on at the end of the book is a huge collection of medications, including situations in which you would use each, dosing and preparation information. There is also a glossary of vocabulary (very helpful) and tips on creating your own medicine cabinet.

Helpful pictures throughout

I tend to get distracted if I don’t have some pictures to look at. Thankfully, the book is populated with many helpful drawings, pictures and even a few comics. As an example:

Chopping up pills may seem self-explanatory, but this certainly helps!

An overall message of responsibility

Throughout the book, the authors are careful to present multiple scenarios for each illness and they consistently caution the reader from recklessly using medication. They are conscious of the fact that misuse of medication can result in worse circumstances for the patient and in the case of antibiotics, overuse can actually encourage bacterial resistance.

We are huge fans of this resource. Incredibly, it’s also available for a free download. You are required to sign up for the Hesperian email list, but this seems like a no-brainer. Most email lists promise an ebook of thin information you can find elsewhere. This is a manual that you could bring with you into the bush. Or, simply use it in your spare time to get more familiar with prevention, symptoms and treatment for a variety of different conditions and diseases. Click here to download the Where There Is No Doctor ebook. If you prefer print, it’s possible to buy the book in that format as well.

Do you have any other free travel health resources you can recommend? Have you read any of the Hesperian guides? Please let us know in the comments below.

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