FOCUS ON HEALTHCARE

In this issue we focus on various issues concerning community health. Dental health is the key focus, with practical information shared by Neil McDonald – who contributed to the very first issue of Footsteps! Other articles look at nutrition, the use and distribution of medicines and how youngsters helped initiate a very successful treatment for leg ulcers.

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 42 in html.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 42 click here (967K).


  • A children’s initiative

    Treatment of leg ulcers by Dr Sherri Kirkpatrick. Children in many Third World countries suffer from painful leg ulcers. One group of school-age children in Chiba, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, decided to take action and asked for help. Some of the children had legs covered with scars from previous ulcers – sometimes their legs were either deformed or crippled from the effects. All suffered pain from current weeping leg ulcers. The children knew that the Community Health Workers ...

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  • A real success story

    by Renu Sherchan. The nutrition worker entered the small village house and found what looked like a living skeleton. His name was Som Bahadur Tamang. He was five years old. His mother had left him when he was ten months old and his father was struggling to raise him.

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  • Bible study: The Bible's teaching on hygiene

    The Bible’s teaching on hygiene The Bible’s main teaching about physical cleanliness appears in Leviticus 11–15. Some of the rules may seem strange and harsh to us. However, our modern understanding of how many diseases are transmitted shows other rules to be very sensible.

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  • Down in the mouth - An example from oral health

    An example from oral health by Neil McDonald. Nepal is one of the world’s ten poorest countries, with just $6 available from the government budget to provide healthcare for each person every year. The treatment of infectious diseases of the chest and bowels swallows all of this money. Who cares about teeth?

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  • Editorial

    It’s been very encouraging to receive so many appreciative messages of congratulation for our tenth anniversary. Your comments are always read and valued – as are the many articles contributed by readers, though it may take a while to find space to use them in a future issue.

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  • Keeping clean

    The Tippy Tap (Footsteps 30) is a useful way of improving hygiene. It uses very little water or soap. The base of the handle of a plastic container is heated over a candle and gently pinched with pliers so that it is sealed tight. Using a heated nail, a small hole is made just above the sealed area. The nail is heated again, this time to make two holes on the back of the bottle so that the container can be hung up. Use string to make a handle and attach an empty tin can upside down to keep the ...

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  • Letters

    Food banks and nutrition Recently someone wrote asking for advice on setting up rice banks to help communities make rice available for the entire year. We have also been working to help people in Malawi secure food for the entire year.

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  • Mealy bugs

    In answer to Sister Claffey’s plea for help to identify and cure the cause of a new disease affecting Prosopis (commonly known as iron tree) and Parkia (locust bean) in Benue State, Nigeria, I think I can help.

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  • More bite for healthcare

    by Neil McDonald. Two-thirds of the world’s healthcare professionals work in industrialised countries amongst one-third of the world’s people. This means that many poor people have little access to healthcare services. The situation is a challenge to both planners and health workers in low income countries.

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  • Pensions for older people

    Since 1974 the Brazilian government introduced the ‘Lifelong Monthly Income’ – a pension scheme for all older people, whether or not they paid contributions. Our research has found that nearly 75% of older people in Recife actually support their whole families on this pension because the young people are unemployed.

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  • Resources

    Where There is No Dentist by Murray Dickson This book is written in similar style to Where There is No Doctor. It is about what people can do for themselves and each other to care for their gums and teeth. It shows how to diagnose and treat dental problems and suggests new ways to work for better dental health in the community. It is aimed mainly at community health workers, but is also of use to teachers, dentists and dental technicians. The book is divided into two parts; the first is ...

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  • Sharing the oral health message

    Compiled by Isabel Carter. The Oral Health Programme in Nepal has produced posters and flashcards in the Nepali language to share oral health messages with teachers, parents and children. These are the main messages:

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  • Successful SWOT

    SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It is a way of looking at organisations, programmes or projects. A SWOT exercise can help to provide new ideas about your work by identifying factors that influence it, both now and in the future. This exercise often works best in a mixed group with people from different areas and levels inside and outside the organisation.

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  • The secret killer

    Did you know that: Tobacco is the only widely available product which, when taken as instructed, kills?

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  • Using medicines in the community

    In many countries, people treat three quarters of all illnesses by using medicines without first seeing a health worker. This is called ‘self-medication’. They may obtain medicines from their home, friends or relatives, a market stall, local shop, traditional healer or a pharmacy. Though some of these sources may provide good quality and appropriate medicines, others may supply inappropriate and potentially dangerous medicines.

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