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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Survival Without a Doctor?

My wife accuses me of thinking too much about “what ifs.” I tell her that I have to because she doesn’t. Part of the survival and preparedness mentality is not worry, but thoughtful study and preparation for very real possibilities. The swine flu epidemic makes us think of all kinds of scenarios that some might not have considered before.

If we experience a repeat of the 1918 pandemic, the number of flu cases may subside for a while, only to come back with a vengeance this fall. You know that planners around the world will do all they can to proactively thwart the effects of that. Why else would Mexico be shut down already? If the U.S. and other countries drastically restrict normal life—school, business, travel, etc.—many of us will be isolated, whether we want to be or not. On my Links of Interest page under the heading of Survival Health are links to sites featuring state pandemic plans as well as a World Health Organization pandemic plan.

If we lose services such as electricity and water, due to the flu or an electromagnetic pulse, it will turn the clock back more than 150 years. One of the many areas of daily life affected will be access to medical care.

By the way, I read recently that hospitals and medical services are cutting back on staff due to the economic downturn. This is an inopportune time for that to be happening, isn’t it? As for dealing with the flu, it’s recommended by several sources that we stay away from hospitals, unless it’s an absolute emergency, since hospitals can be centers of infectious disease in an epidemic. Is there a connection here? In other words, stay away from hospitals because they’re shorthanded?

What do they do in Third World countries in the absence of accessible medical care? There’s a book designed for just such situations. It’s Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook, by Jane Maxwell, Carol Thuman, and David Werner. It’s not the typical home healthcare manual. It’s specifically aimed at medical personnel working in Third World villages. Reviewers say its information is straightforward, easy to understand and simple to read.

Where There Is No Doctor is over 400 pages in paperback and has received 4.6 out of 5 stars by reviewers, and is described as follows:

Hesperian's classic manual, Where There Is No Doctor, is perhaps the most widely-used health care manual in the world. Useful for health workers, clinicians, and others involved in primary health care delivery and health promotion programs, with millions of copies in print in more than 75 languages, the manual provides practical, easily understood information on how to diagnose, treat, and prevent common diseases. Special attention is focused on mutrition, infection and disease prevention, and diagnostic techniques as primary ways to prevent and treat health problems.

This 2007 reprint includes new material on preventing the transmission of blood-borne diseases, how HIV/AIDS is reflected in many health issues, and basic Antiretroviral treatment information, as well as updated information on children and aspirin, stomach ulcers, hepatitis, and malaria treatments.

Have a copy of Where there Is No Doctor in your first aid kit or other medical supplies at home. You can get your copy by clicking on the picture of the book here, which will take you to the page featuring the book. When it comes to “what ifs,” ask yourself, “What if I’m not ready to cope with medical situations in my family if circumstances truly turn back the clock?” Get Where There Is No Doctor now so you’ll at least be that much more ready.


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