Helping the Rural African Mother to Care for Her Child. A Handbook of Health Education for Health Workers

by C. Desjardins and S. Desjardins. 133 pages. Published by St. Mary's Hospital, P.O. Box 200, GULU, Uganda. 1977. Price 10/-

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  • School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90024
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Basically the idea of this book is excellent and the title really focuses on what is required—that is helping, rather than the more paternalistic suggestion of informing the completely ignorant.

Of course, the “lower” the educational level of the target audience the more difficult a book is to write. In this publication, there are very many excellent ideas, such as the emphasis on feeding sick children after recovery from measles, breast feeding for 1–2 years, considerable stress on the dangers of artificial feeding, and the approach of mixing the staple with the sauce or relish.

At the same time, the booklet has a rather large number of minor irrelevancies which can act as red herrings in drawing attention away from major issues. For example, that older mothers give less milk than younger women is certainly a fact, but not of really very great significance.