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A Manual for All Reasons

March 25, 2011

Hesperian depends on our volunteers and supporters around the world to get our books to those who need them most.  Judy Tart has been packing books as a volunteer with Hesperian since 2007 – and her sister, Barbara Bamberger Scott, has been using Hesperian books since the 1980s.  Judy recently sent Barbara the most updated version of Where There Is No Doctor, and Barbara was so excited to see the book again that she published an article on her experiences using it in on

Some excerpts are below, and you can read the full article, “A Manual for All Reasons,” here

I purchased my first copy of Where There Is No Doctor in 1980 in a radical bookshop in London at the advice of Quaker mentors who were preparing me to work in Botswana. I carried it from Botswana to England to the Dominican Republic back to England, to Spain and Kenya and back. I found it as useful in Europe (and now the US) as it was in the remote pueblo where I worked in the DR or the trackless desert homeland of the Masaai at the foot of the sacred Mount Kenya. I still read and still garner medical knowledge from WTIND. I am almost certain that in case of national emergency or natural disaster I could deliver a baby with nothing but a copy of WTIND, some clean towels and a very sharp knife. 

It is said that all over the world, in every Peace Corps training center, church guest house, and little ex-pat library for volunteers on furlough, you will find at least one copy of Where There Is No Doctor.

WTIND, once denounced by the World Health Organization, is now praised by that same organization, and is regularly issued to all Peace Corps volunteers. Undeniably, Werner and his cohort harnessed a variety of essential dynamics that, in their time, were both scientifically radical and socially prophetic: the preservation of and reverence for local medical practices when they could be shown to have any sound basis; the conviction  that poverty-ridden, barely literate people could be empowered  to understand their health and  heal others; and the dissemination of human-scale modern medical knowledge that has been said to have saved tens of thousands of lives.

Thanks to Judy, Barbara, and everyone else who works hard to get our books to the community health workers and villagers bringing health to all.