Thursday, November 19, 2009

Textbooks about low-resource medicine

Low-resource medicine overlaps to some degree with tropical medicine and with what is sometimes referred to as international medicine. Wilderness medicine, too, operates almost by definition in low-resource settings.

If you're suiting up to practice in a low-resource setting, what kinds of books might give you some guidance? Of course, the usual medical textbooks apply to some degree, although at least one clinic I know has been specifically requesting older editions of pediatric cardiology texts, for reasons one can readily imagine. When MRI is the modern standard for diagnosing something, but you haven't one, you'd like to know what people did before MRI was invented.

So are there books designed for such settings? Typing "low-resource medicine" into Amazon's search engine brings nothing relevant. (It's not a particularly oft-used term. Maybe that will change soon: I hope that in time there will be residencies and a specialty board devoted to low-resource medicine.)

* Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook, by David Werner et al. Aimed at laypeople, this book is based on the democratic principle that a person possessed of common sense and clear information can diagnose and treat many ailments. I ordered a copy months ago and have read it with interest, and it comes highly recommended by Amazon reviewers who, unlike me, have used it in the field. (It does have its critics , though.) I found some out-of-date recommendations--the information about ear infections, for example, doesn't reflect recent research--but on the whole it looks like a decent resource. It has sister books about women's health and dentistry.

* The Oxford Handbook of Tropical Medicine, by Michael Eddleston et al. Compact and orange, with water-resistant covers. I'll report back about this book once I've used it abroad, but it gets rave reviews on Amazon.

* Wilderness Medicine, by Paul S. Auerbach. On its 5th edition. Handbook is available as well.

* The Little Black Book of International Medicine, by William A. Alto. Just ordered this.

Has anyone practicing in a low-resource setting used any of these textbooks? I'll update this post with comments and recommendations.

1 comment:

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