Where Women Have No Doctor, A Health Guide for Women (updated edition)
by A. August Burns, Ronnie Lovich, Jane Maxwell and Katherine Shapiro

[2006, Berkeley, California: Hesperian Foundation, 596 pages, paperback.]

[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 85, Spring 2008, © 2008, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Jill Cohen.]

This book combines self-help medical information with an understanding of the ways poverty, discrimination and cultural belief systems limit women health and access to care. The book is designed to help women understand, treat and prevent many health problems. Where Women Have No Doctor has circulated throughout the world, with a major impact on world health for women. It covers many topics that apply to women’s health care—including pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. Understanding women’s bodies, how to solve problems, and stay healthy, and politics of women’s health are all focal points.

This new version has major updates on HIV/AIDS including the use of antiretrovirals to help prevent mother-to-child transmission. Other significant updates include the treatment of sexually transmitted infections, family planning, TB and medications.

What I like best about this book is the easy-to-understand communication. The book speaks to the well-educated, the uneducated and everyone in between. It provides common sense basics, works for impoverished and affluent countries and bridges the gap, on many levels, towards self-care.

Reviewer Jill Cohen lives in Gates, Oregon, with her husband and two of four children. After practicing as a lay midwife for 20 years, she has now returned to school to get a nursing degree.

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