I am absolutely thrilled to be able to share this next author interview in the Backdoor Survival Winter Book Festival. These week we hear from Jane Maxwell, Senior Editor at Hesperian Health Guides and the co-author of the landmark books:
Where There Is No Doctor
Where Women Have No Doctor and
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities
Many of you that have been preparing for years are familiar with medical books fro the Hesperian Group and to say that I am honored that Jane has agreed to answer my questions is an understatement. Jane shares her answers below and is also providing one of my readers with a free printed copy of the latest version of Where There Is No Doctor.
AND THE WINNER IS . . .
Before we begin, I would like to announce the winner of last week’s giveaway. The three books that make up Ron Foster’s “The Prepper Trilogy” (Preppers Road March, BUG OUT! Preppers on the move! and The Light In The Lake: The Survival Lake Retreat) were won by “Shelley” Congratulations! I have contacted you by email with instructions for claiming your prize.
Here is how Shelley described why she prepares and what she is preparing for:
My husband has been prepping for years, but I have just begun REALLY prepping in the past year. I have begun paying attention to the way this country (and world) have degraded. It is very frightening how everything has changed. We are trying to prepare for anything, although we can never be prepared for every scenario. I am so thankful for all of the knowledge that people are willing to share.
Be sure to check out the details of this week’s giveaway below.
WHERE THERE IS NO DOCTOR
To set the tone for my interview with Jane, here is a short video by Lucas Amikiya in Sumbrungu (an African village in Ghana) offering his praise “Where There is No Doctor”.
An Interview with JANE MAXWELL
Tell me about Where There Is No Doctor. What is it?
I always like to start by saying that Hesperian Health Guides is a nonprofit publisher of health care resources for communities around the world where people have little or no access to health resources. The book we’re best known for is Where There Is No Doctor.
Basically, the book got started by a small group doing medical work in rural Mexico. It started out as a book of protocols. If someone comes in who has been cut by a machete, and it’s infected, this is what you do. If a woman is having a baby, and the body is coming out in the wrong direction, this is what you do. If somebody is vomiting and they also have a rash, this is what it might be and this is how you treat it. So it just built up from there.
I started as a volunteer at Hesperian in 1982. I had learned about the book Where There Is No Doctor at the Berkeley Free Clinic, where I was also volunteering. We had a copy of the book there, and I thought, “This is great! They’re providing free health information, and demystifying medicine.” My first task as a volunteer at Hesperian was building shelves!
Once you got involved at Hesperian, what type of research did you end up doing and how did you get involved in the editorial work?
I had read Where There Is No Doctor, and had seen some things that needed to be changed and updated. I proposed to do that – and they said, “Go ahead – but you need to raise the money!”
Somehow I raised 25,000 dollars, and I thought I was king of the world! And so we got the first update going. A lot of the information on antibiotics needed to be changed; we added information about frostbite, and also malaria. Malaria was different in different parts of the world, the patterns were different, so we had to work that in. Flukes (Schistosomiasis) is different in Asia than in Africa, so things like that that needed to be added that weren’t in there before. And of course HIV had become a reality, and we had to include that.
Even nonfiction books include a message. What message do you hope readers will take away after reading Where There Is No Doctor?
A lot of medicine is not rocket science! One of the things they found while doing the health worker trainings in Mexico, is that within 2 months you can teach somebody a good 90% of what people go to a general practitioner for. You just don’t need heavily trained doctors for most medical problems people have, like colds, digestive problems, and even treatment for a wound. It’s for that top 10% of health problems that you need a highly skilled medical professional.
For example, one of the doctors taught villagers about a thing called Pterygium. It happens a lot to farmers who work outdoors in the wind. A skin-like thickening slowly grows over the eye, and can eventually really disrupt your vision. The growth can be scraped off, and one villager was taught how to do this. Another teachable thing is dental work, which we address in Where There Is No Dentist. We wouldn’t want to teach anyone to drill a tooth just by reading a book, (you really need hands-on experience for that) but you can teach people how to identify decay, to remove it and put something in to replace it.
Can you tell readers a little more about yourself and how you came to be interested in health and international health?
I came to the United States in 1961 from the United Kingdom and got a job at a bank, but on the weekends I volunteered at an organization that worked with children with disabilities in San Francisco.
I was always, always, interested in other parts of the world. I was also always interested in medicine. I had done a year and a half of nursing school in the UK. I enrolled at City College in San Francisco for 2 years and then transferred to UC Berkeley to finish my studies in cultural anthropology, with a focus on medical systems.
I actually spent my senior year in Ghana. It changed my life. I drove across the Sahara desert in a land rover – a trip that would be hard to do now! After that I ended up getting my MPH from UC Berkeley, where I also took a lot of journalism courses. And I started volunteering at the Berkeley Free Clinic, where I’m still involved today.
I guess my background has been kind of a mish mash of medicine, anthropology, and writing.
What makes Where There Is No Doctor popular in the prepping community?
Where There Is No Doctor is useful for anyone who may find themselves in circumstances where medical care is not available. And the emphasis on illustrations and non-technical language makes them accessible to anyone. You don’t need to have years of training to be able to provide basic medical care. Our books also cover a very wide range of issues, and our focus lends itself well to situations where self-reliance and low-tech solutions may be critical.
This is just one of many illustrations.
Preppers may also be interested to know that Hesperian’s other books can also be useful for disaster prepping. We wrote Helping Health Workers Learn to train laypeople in how to use Where There Is No Doctor to treat others. It has storytelling and game playing, so you can get the medical ideas across to people in an easy way.
Hesperian also produced a book called Where Women Have No Doctor that has medical information for women. A Community Guide to Environmental Health addresses, among other things, issues of sanitation, hygiene, and water treatment. It has 26 pages on how to build latrines!
A Book for Midwives covers all of the issues involved in pregnancy and birth in an easy-to-follow format. We also distribute a book published by the Christian Veterinary Mission in Seattle called Where There Is No Animal Doctor. It covers basic care and nutrition issues for livestock from cattle to goats to poultry.
Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself and writing books for Hesperian?
While we develop our books at Hesperian, we want to make sure they will have information that will be useful in communities everywhere. So we invite people to review the books as we are developing them, as they are being written, and to give us their opinions. They can say to us, “that would never go on in this community.” They tell us if the words are too difficult to understand, or if the illustrations don’t make sense. They give us line-by-line feedback.
For one of our current books-in-progress, we are field testing and getting it reviewed in over 20 countries. We compile and read these comments to see what seriously needs to be changed, make the changes, and then send it back for more feedback.
Whenever there is medical information we always have medical professionals review it, as well. A Hesperian book isn’t just a potential resource – it’s already been proven in the field.
THE BOOK GIVEAWAY
A copy of Where There Is No Doctor has been reserved for one lucky Backdoor Survival reader.
This week’s question is this:
What do you feel with be the toughest health or medical challenge following a disaster, collapse or breakdown of society as we know it?
Please reply with your answer in the comments area at the end of this article. The deadline is 6:00 AM Pacific next Friday and a winner will be selected next Friday at random using tools on the random.org website.
THE FINAL WORD
The challenge of medical care when health care professionals are not available is a concern to all preppers. Not only is there there the lack of knowledge, but there is the lack of supplies and medicines as well. It is my hope that none of us will ever be called upon to use book-knowledge to treat a serious injury or illness. That said, if it does happen, I want to be prepared with an arsenal of printed materials to help me do the very best I can to help those in need.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Backdoor Survival on Facebook to be updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.
Spotlight Item: Hesperian’s classic book, Where There Is No Doctor, is arguably the most widely-used health care manual in the world. A must for the prepper bookshelf, it includes practical, easily understood information on how to diagnose, treat, and prevent common diseases. Special attention is focused on nutrition, infection and disease prevention, and diagnostic techniques as primary ways to prevent and treat health problems.
Also check out Where There Is No Dentist as well as the Hesperian website where you may download free copies of their books in e-book format. You may also want to consider making a small donation to keep their work going.
Bargain Bin: Listed below are all of the books in the Backdoor Survival Winter Reading List. There are both fiction and non-fiction titles and a bit of something for everyone. Also, some of these books are Kindle e-books but you do not need a Kindle to read Kindle e-books. Simply download the free Kindle app from the Amazon site and you are good to go.
The Backdoor Survival Winter Reading List – Non-Fiction
The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning (Author Charlie Palmer)
Rapid Fire!: Tactics for High Threat, Protection and Combat Operations (Author Max Velocity)
Lanterns, Lamps and Candles (Author Ron Brown)
An Operations Manual For Humankind – The Complete Compendium Of Natural Health: (Author: Paul Patrick Robinson)
Understanding the Use of Handguns for Self-Defense (Author David Nash)
Where There Is No Doctor (Authors David Werner, Jane Maxwell, Carol Thuman)
Making the Best of Basics – Family Preparedness Handbook: (Author James Talmadge Stevens)
How to Live on $10,000 a Year – Or Less – Newly Revised for 2013 (Author George Ure)
The Prepper’s Pantry: Building and Thriving with Food Storage (Author Anne Lang)
The Truth About Simple Unhooked Living (Author Estar Holmes)
The Backdoor Survival Winter Reading List – Fiction
Preppers Road March (Author Ron Foster)
BUG OUT! Preppers on the move! (Author Ron Foster)
The Light In The Lake: The Survival Lake Retreat (Author Ron Foster)
Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises: (Author Max Velocity)
Holding Their Own: A Story of Survival (Author Joe Nobody)
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