In this issue we look at health care at the household level. Often when people think about health care, they think of hospitals and professional health workers. People in remote, rural or poor urban communities across the world often have little access to these formal medical services. However, by learning some basic information and skills, people are able to take responsibility for looking after the majority of their own and their family’s health needs at home.

Preventing illnesses and accidents from occurring is just as important as treatment. Many common diseases can be prevented by simple hygiene and sanitation measures such as making sure water used for drinking is safe, and by washing hands before eating or preparing food. Good nutrition is vital to maintain health.  

However, there remain many serious medical conditions which do require professional medical attention. This issue of Footsteps cannot provide complete medical advice. Caregivers should recognise when they need to seek medical help (see page 9). If you are not sure about an illness, or how to treat it, or if the illness is serious, then always seek advice from a trained health worker as soon as possible. Communities can work together to hold governments accountable to provide these services and ensure that people have access to good quality professional medical care when it is necessary.

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 74 in html.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 74, please click here (388KB).

  • Bible study: A biblical approach to health care

    by Robert YeeIs there a biblical model for health care? Health care in many countries is delivered by professional health care workers, based in a hospital or clinic. These people are highly trained to provide specialised care to individual patients. Although such care may be effective, this approach is expensive and reaches only a limited number of people. It is often not accessible to poor people, particularly in remote rural areas, and it discourages independence and self-reliance in local ...

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  • Letters

    Traditional medicine Scientific tests have proved the healing properties of a plant used in traditional African medicine to stop bleeding from wounds. Aspilia africana (Compositae) is widespread across Africa and is traditionally used to stop bleeding and to clean the surfaces of sores. It is also used to treat rheumatic pains, as well as bee and scorpion stings. For more information, see

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  • Misuse of antibiotics

    by Theodore Mbata Misuse of antibiotics is a problem in countries across the world, but particularly in the South, where people often use them to treat any minor infection, with or without a doctor’s prescription. Inappropriate use of antibiotics frequently leads to the development of resistant strains of the bacteria that cause infection. This means that in future these antibiotics will not be effective in treating infections. Excessive use of antibiotics also increases the cost of treatment ...

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  • Resources

    TASO (The AIDS Support Organisation) Strategies for Hope and TASO have produced a new book and film, both called United Against AIDS: the Story of TASO. In these, TASO clients describe how the organisation has empowered them to ‘live positively with HIV’. The book and film both address challenges such as the high levels of HIV prevalence in the north of Uganda following two decades of conflict, and HIV prevention within marriages and other long-term relationships.

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  • Staying healthy

    compiled by Maggie Sandilands Preventing illnesses and accidents from happening is as important as being able to treat them when they occur. The expertise of professional health workers or hospital treatment may be required to treat a serious illness, but prevention has to begin in the home. There are many simple ways to help your family to stay healthy.

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