Where There is No Doctor a Village Health Care Book: Weekly product review
Some reviews are simple to write, some are difficult. This is one of the simple ones, firstly I need to tell you that I purchased this book with the intention of adding to my library of medical knowledge. I did not receive it for free or in exchange for anything.
Some purchases can be seen through hindsight with eyes tinged with regret. This is one of those purchases. I purchased this book on Amazon for $27 including shipping. On the cover of the book and in the description it is promoted for the “villager/ pharmacist/ storekeeper/ teacher/ health worker/ mothers and midwives who live far from medical centers.”
Unfortunately, there are maybe only half the pages of the 445-page book that have applicable medical knowledge.
In fairness, there are several subjects broached that are extremely necessary for sub-third world nations or areas filled with people who believe using lollipops that have been dipped in open sores is a good approach for reducing potential chicken pox/ smallpox and other viral infections.
My real issues with this tome are how it was written and the language used most frequently which shows a disproportionate level of reliance on socialist life approaches. It should be noted that I do not see any government outside of self-governance or at most tribal approaches as a beneficial approach.
If the book had shown a disproportionate amount of “democratic/republican” leaning it would have received the same response from myself. I find that many items of interest in the book I agree with. Such as the statement, “if you can use what is best in modern medicine with what is best in traditional healing you are often better than using either alone” (quoting from memory so it may be a bit off).
Additionally, the insistence that we share knowledge eg., medical in nature adds to the potential that the book begins with. Where I believe it falls apart is its insistence on poor health being a direct result of an unfair distribution of land and wealth. While I am someone who lives daily in a system where my poverty is ignored by most others due to my being born “privileged” as a white male, even though I was also born with debilitating spinal conditions and even though I worked for decades with spinal conditions.
I still firmly believe that to better ourselves and our world we should instead focus on solutions which I promote individually through my writing reviews without charge and other one on one actions I take regularly without charge or profit personally. I share my extensive knowledge with people regularly and do so basically free of charge. This does not mean I am a socialist, communist nor does my rejection of these institutions and definitions mean I am a capitalist or otherwise. Rather it means I am a self-determining individual and this is my choice.
Additional direct critiques of the book are the use of imagery to associate firearms with deadly medicinal uses. (page w18) or (page 49). Additionally, they do not address the use of beneficial approaches such as the assessment of and stoppage of serious bleeds on extremities. (eg., use of tourniquet and or use of alternatives for a tourniquet when needed.) Instead, they chose to apply antiquated medical science to these issues. (page 90-91) and while it is not terrible, it is not in the best interests of anyone to follow outdated medical science when better-proven alternatives exist.
On page 116 the authors recommend avoiding meats and instead of growing a mixture of vegetables and groundnuts because animal-based food is ‘more expensive and less nutritious” than these grains, vegetables and nuts. In the very next paragraph, the author states the importance of raising chickens for food. There is an extreme cognitive dissonance with the authors given their supposed hands-on experience with villages in Mexico in the 90s’, I find their experience to be lacking especially in this area.
Unlike first world nations where the editor originated food is not often purchased from Walmart or Publix and is in fact raised, hunted, or otherwise gathered for the poorer individuals. While some nations have become completely dependent on foreign aid, eg., welfare states like Haiti, Nigeria et., al, there are many many others that still have a sense of self-ownership and desire to do for themselves. There are several dozen other minor and major issues I recognized and I am not a doctor or even nurse.
It should be noted further that there are many very good ideas and approaches noted within the book. Some of the wonderful ideas are regarding clean living, specifically avoiding mixing ones pets or food animals with ones home life, (something we Americans are sadly repeating with our current legislation supporting animals in eating establishments). I should note that it is the overall approach promoted sometimes subtly and other times overtly that drives me to say this is not, in fact, a beneficial book for the homesteader.
I do not, however, believe these outweigh the issues within the book and if the authors or editors happen to read this article would gladly assist with editing future editions at little or no cost simply to help others in the future.
My final recommendation for this is simple. Save your money and purchase one of the other fine medical books available. Several which I have reviewed in the past and some which I will be reviewing soon here. If you have questions or suggestions please make them below. I cannot learn without knowledge from others and through self-reflection.
Note: You can download this book and others for free here.
Free the mind and the body will follow…