Divining without Seeds: The Case for Strengthening Laboratory Medicine in Africa by Iruka N. OkekeDivining without Seeds: The Case for Strengthening Laboratory Medicine in Africa by Iruka N. Okeke

Divining without Seeds: The Case for Strengthening Laboratory Medicine in Africa

byIruka N. Okeke

Hardcover | January 6, 2011

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Infectious disease is the most common cause of illness and death in Africa, yet health practitioners routinely fail to identify causative microorganisms in most patients. As a result, patients often do not receive the right medicine in time to cure them promptly even when such medicine is available, outbreaks are larger and more devastating than they should be, and the impact of control interventions is difficult to measure. Wrong prescriptions and prolonged infections amount to needless costs for patients and for health systems. In Divining without Seeds, Iruka N. Okeke forcefully argues that laboratory diagnostics are essential to the effective practice of medicine in Africa.

The diversity of endemic life-threatening infections and limited public health resources in tropical Africa make the need for basic laboratory diagnostic support even more acute than in other parts of the world. This book gathers compelling case studies of inadequate diagnoses of diseases ranging from fevers—including malaria—to respiratory infections and sexually transmitted diseases. The inherited and widely prevalent health clinic model, which excludes or diminishes the hospital laboratory, is flawed, to often devastating effect. Fortunately, there are new technologies that make it possible to inexpensively implement testing at the primary care level. Divining without Seeds makes clear that routine use of appropriate diagnostic support should be part of every drug delivery plan in Africa and that diagnostic development should be given high priority.

Iruka N. Okeke is Associate Professor of Biology at Haverford College. She is coeditor of Antimicrobial Resistance in Developing Countries.
Title:Divining without Seeds: The Case for Strengthening Laboratory Medicine in AfricaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:January 6, 2011Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801449413

ISBN - 13:9780801449413

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Table of Contents

1. The Power of Sight
2. Fever: Is It Malaria?
3. Fever: Beyond Malaria
4. Drug Resistance
5. Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers
6. Detecting Covert Infection ahead of the Final Diagnosis
7. Diagnostic Certainty and Disease Control
8. Origins and Outlook of Diagnostic Insufficiency in Africa
Conclusion: The Feasibility of Laboratory Diagnosis in African Settings

Works Cited

Editorial Reviews

"In this beautifully written book Iruka N. Okeke interweaves the problems of Africa, the history of infectious diseases, and her own life experience to make the compelling case that the near-total lack of basic laboratory diagnostic services continues to be a major cause of mortality and morbidity throughout that continent."—Thomas F. O'Brien, MD, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School