Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Journals about low-resource medicine

I grew interested in low-resource medicine when I was making preparations to go to a clinic in the Indonesian jungle. Having trained as a doc in the United States, I'm used to lab results, CT scans, and expert colleagues being immediately available. I thought there must be some sort of journal for docs and other health care workers who are going to have to get along without these luxuries. I could imagine it covering not only straight clinical topics, but also policy, architectural, and cultural issues, as well as serving as a forum for practitioners to swap tips (ever treated a diabetic ulcer with honey?).

So far, I've found the Internet Journal of Tropical Medicine (accessible online without a subscription), the Journal of Urban Health (bimonthly, peer-reviewed, but not free), the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (focuses on policy issues). World Health and Populations also looks promising. I'm not able to access all of these journals without a subscription and I'd be interested in knowing if any of them is considered an indispensable resource to workers in low-resource settings.

Come to that, given that there are many docs with an interest in international medicine (and, in an unfortunate comment on global health, "international" is often a code word for "low-resource"), shouldn't there be a separate specialty with its own residency, training docs in rich countries to function on their own in poor ones? But that'll be a topic for another post.

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