MEDICINES & CHEMICALS
Editorial by Isabel Carter 

In this issue of Footsteps we are looking at ways in which we think about medicines and agricultural chemicals.

The big pharmaceutical companies advertise their products in ways which encourage us to believe that all our problems can be solved with their products. Many families spend money they usually cannot afford on buying tonics and couch medicines for their children, believing this will help them grow strong and healthy. Dr Ted Lankester encourages us to think again about our need for medicines.

In the same way, farmers all over the world are encouraged to believe that agricultural chemicals can solve all their pest and disease problems; but little effort is made by the major Pesticide Manufacturing Companies to warn farmers that pesticides are dangerous poisons that can kill. Each year thousands of adults and children are poisoned or killed when pesticides are not used carefully. We look at ways of helping with this problem and at alternative solutions. Dr Hart provides practical guidance should you suspect pesticide poisoning.

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 2.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 2, please click here (PDF 2.96 MB).


  • Action in emergencies

    By Dr William Hart. Modern agricultural pesticides (chemicals used for killing insects, weeds or diseases) may bring great benefits through saving labour and increasing production. But they can also bring danger to people livestock and wildlife. This article is concerned with accidental poisoning of humans by these chemicals.

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  • Bible study: Caring for God's creation

    Caring for God's creation By Rev Tim Oakley, Taita, Kenya. Read Genesis 1:1-28. In the first chapter of Genesis, God teaches us something about the purpose of creation. In particular we learn about the purpose of man within creation. Everything created is good – after all God himself made it! But how can it be kept good?

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  • Case Studies - taking good advice

    By Dr Heather-Louise Williamson. These two case studies illustrate how difficult it can be for doctors and health workers to put Dr Lankester’s advice into practice, when patients will not accept the advice they are given. Use these stories to help your patients, and others, to understand the points which Dr Lankester is making.

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  • Letters

    Encouraged. I want to tell you how much I enjoy your paper and the help it’s giving me and the small rural community I am trying to help. I work to help lift their standard of living both materially and spiritually. Through your articles people here have been encouraged to participate more in the Community Health Clinic and I have been able to motivate members in the Credit Union. I am pleased to see the Bible passage which we can use together.

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  • Local knowledge and alternative poisons

    Roger W Sharland. In Southern Sudan agrochemicals were both expensive and difficult to get. Most farmers were subsistence farmers but there was still a desire for the almost magic qualities seen to be possessed by chemicals or “dawa”, without a great understanding of what they did or the consequences of using them.

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  • News

    New hope for malaria vaccine. For many years scientists have been working to try to find a vaccine for malaria without success. Malaria is becoming more difficult to control, as the parasites, which cause malaria, are developing resistance to many of the drugs used to cure the disease.

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  • The dental health message

    By Alison Thornley. Dental disease is a big problem in many countries today, but it does not require specialist knowledge to help prevent this problem. For community health workers, nurses, clinical officers and anyone else who is interested, the following will give a few tips on dental health education.

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  • Warning! Medicines can seriously damage your health

    Dr Ted Lankester, now Director of Interhealth which is based at Mildmay Mission Hospital, worked as a doctor in India for a number of years. Though this article is written for health workers and doctors, we can all learn from what he writes. All of us need medicine at some time in our life – this article will help us to realise that medicine is not always the answer to our problems. The misuse and over-prescription of drugs is a growing problem all over the world and one that should concern all ...

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