Annals of African Medicine

: 2013  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 65--67

Common Medical Problems in the Tropics (3 rd Edition) 2010

Adamu Girei Bakari 
 Department of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Adamu Girei Bakari
Department of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria

How to cite this article:
Bakari AG. Common Medical Problems in the Tropics (3 rd Edition) 2010.Ann Afr Med 2013;12:65-67

How to cite this URL:
Bakari AG. Common Medical Problems in the Tropics (3 rd Edition) 2010. Ann Afr Med [serial online] 2013 [cited 2023 Sep 22 ];12:65-67
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Author: CR SchullYear of publishing: 2010Publisher: MacmillanSize: 629 pages (248 x 187mm) (Paper back)Price: $34.13 ( 978-0-230-03104-3

The book is a 629 page book divided in to 37 chapters of varying lengths covering what needs to be known by health workers in health centres.

Chapter one deals with the general principles of being an effective health worker, and covers such aspects as evidence based medicine, the purpose of the health worker, the role of traditional healers and the need for cooperation between the orthodox health worker and the traditional healers considering their roles in most traditional societies. The chapter also discusses the need for cooperation between the health worker and the community workers. Chapter two dwells on definition of clinical terms such as Anatomy, physiology, pathology, epidemiology, prevalence, incidence, symptoms, signs, differential diagnosis, etc. This clearly prepares the reader who is not familiar with these terms to be at home with them when encountered later in the book or during practice. Chapter three deals with general principles of pathology and briefly and in simple language introduces the key concepts of inflammation and neoplasia. The definitions, causes and basic classifications of these concepts are given in the chapter. Chapter four attempts to broadly classify disease states on the basis of their aetiology such as congenital, traumatic, inflammatory, degenerative, chemical, malnutrition and psychological. This enables the health worker to appreciate the broad aetiological classes in practice.

Chapter five deals with the basic concepts of epidemiology while chapter six deals with the clinical diagnosis process, from taking a medical history, performing a physical examination, making a differential diagnosis and laboratory investigations relevant to the case in question are well explained in this chapter.

Chapter seven gives a brief introduction on basic principles of therapeutics with particular emphasis on pain relief, chemotherapy, and anaesthesia. Issues of non-compliance, the possibility of drug interactions with traditional remedies are also addressed in this chapter. Chapter eight deals with notification of diseases and death; and the need for the health worker to be familiar with the diseases that must be reported, as well as the procedure to be adopted when such illnesses are encountered in practice. Chapter nine deals with the prevention and control of disease; while chapter ten deals with basic immunology in the simplest language possible as well as the immunisation schedule for children.

Chapters eleven to nineteen extensively deals with the common infectious diseases in the tropics including the diagnosis, treatment and complications. Chapter eleven deals with the methods of spread of infectious diseases as well as the general principles guiding treatment. Chapter twelve deals with severe infections including septicaemia; while chapter thirteen extensively addresses malaria. Chapter 14 deals with the epidemiology, clinical presentation, complications and management of tuberculosis. Chapter 15 extensively covers leprosy with all the information that is required for effective control and treatment. Chapter 16 is titled ''some common infectious diseases'' and deals with measles, rubella, chickenpox, herpes zoster, other viral xanthemata, glandular fever, Epstein-Bar virus infection, cytomegalo virus infection, toxoplasmosis, mumps, pertussis, Q fever and leptospirosis.

Chapter 17 is titled 'Some serious acute infectious diseases with limited distribution' and covers such conditions as relapsing fever, Endemic tick-borne relapsing fever, melioidosis, Bartonellosis, plague, typhus fever. It also covers arbovirus infections such as dengue, yellow fever, and Japanese encephalitis. Chapter 18 is titled 'Some serious subacute and Chronic infectious diseases with limited distribution' and adequately covers the clinical features, diagnosis management and epidemiology of the following; typhoid fever, brucellosis, leishmaniasis, trypanosomiasis, worm infestations and schistosomiasis.

Sexually transmitted diseases including HIV infection and AIDS is well taken care of in chapter 19 most of the management issues in these disorders such as contact tracing and treatment of contacts, HIV/Tuberculosis and HIV/pregnancy are adequately covered for the day to day use of the health worker.

Disorders of the respiratory system are covered in chapter 20 in great detail from the history suggestive of respiratory disease, methods of clinical examination and the clinical signs found in respiratory disease are well presented in simple language. Furthermore common respiratory disorders like the common cold, swine flu, bird flu, sever acute respiratory syndrome, otitis media, otitis externa, foreign body in the ear, sinusitis, foreign body in the nose, epistaxis, allergic rhinitis, acute tonsillitis, obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome, bronchitis, pneumonia, pneumothorax, pleural effusion, asthma, chronic obstructive airway disease, bronchiectasis, lung flukes, carcinoma of the lungs, occupational lung diseases and pulmonary embolism. It also addresses the approach to some syndromic situations such as haemoptysis, chronic cough, breathlessness, stridor, and chest pain. The chapter also describes how to use the peak flow meter.

Chapter 21 covers the disorders of blood and blood forming organs and starts with basic anatomy, physiology and pathology of the bone marrow, spleen, liver and lymph nodes. It also deals with the usual history and physical findings encountered in anaemia as well as the management of the common types of anaemia. The chapter also touches on hyperactive malarious splenomegaly, sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia and Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. It also has a rich appendix on WHO haemoglobin colour scale, methods giving intramuscular iron dextran and total iron replacement using intravenous iron dextran. Disorders of the lymphatic system and the spleen are covered in chapter 22 and covers lymphadenopathy and the various causes as well as the approach to patients with the various degrees of splenomegaly.

Disorders of the gastrointestinal system and nutrition are addressed in chapter 23. The chapter starts with the basic anatomy, physiology and pathology of the system followed by the symptoms and signs attributable to the dysfunction of the system. It also covers specific disorders such as parotitis, peritonitis, hemoperitoneum, intestinal obstruction, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer disease, and stomach cancer as well as worm infestations. It also deals with acute diarrhoeal disease and the approach to management, cholera and its management, other diseases covered in the chapter include bacillary dysentery, salmonella infections, food poisoning, giardisis, lactose intolerance, intestinal malignancies as well as nutritional disorders. Chapter 24 deals with disorders of the liver, bile ducts and the pancreas and as is characteristic of the book, starts with basic anatomy, physiology and pathology of the organs in a simple language. It covers acute viral hepatitis, chronic liver disease, liver abscess, hepatoma, acute cholycystitis, obstructive jaundice, liver flukes; as well as pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

Disorders of the nervous system are covered in chapter 25 and covers bacterial meningitis, cerebral malaria, tuberculous meningitis, cryptococcal meningitis, viral meningitis and trypanosomiasis. The chapter also covers encephalitis, rabies, poliomyelitis, stroke, tetanus, sepilepsy, peripheral neuropathy and brain tumors. The chapter also deals with the approach to the unconscious patient, seizures, paraplegia and headache. It also has a well illustrated appendix on performing a lumbar puncture, and the examination of CSF as well as interpretation of CSF results.

Disorders of the urinary system are covered in chapter 26. Basic anatomy, physiology and the symptoms and signs of involvement of the urinary system are also covered. Urinary tract infections, acute glomerulonephritis, the nephrotic syndrome, acute and chronic renal failure as well as renal colic are covered in some detail for the health worker. Chapter 27 covers the disorders of the cardiovascular system and covers the anatomy, physiology and symptoms of cardiovascular disease. It also deals with specific conditions such as heart failure, shock, systemic hypertension, atherosclerotic vascular disease, coronary heart disease and rheumatic fever.

Chapter 28 briefly looks at disorders of bones and muscles covering osteomyelitis, Osteomalacia oteosarcoma and pyomyositis. While chapter 29 looks at disorders of joints such as the various forms of arthritis and osteoarthritis and backache. Chapter 30 briefly looks at the disorders of the endocrine system such as the thyroid gland, diabetes mellitus and its complications as well as acute adrenal insufficiency. Eye disorders are covered in chapter 31 and very briefly deals with common eye problems such aas conjunctivitis, conjunctival foreign bodies, trachoma, corneal ulcer, onchocerciasis, glaucoma and cataract. The chapter also briefly looked at diabetic eye disease, long sight and short sight, squint and eye involvement in HIV infection.

Disorders of the skin are covered in some detail in chapter 32 and covers most of the disorders of the skin seen in the tropics. Bites and stings are briefly covered in chapter 33. Management of snake bites, venomous fish, octopus stings as well as scorpion and centipede stings are covered in the chapter. Also covered are spider bites, insect stings as well as animal and human bites. Chapter 34 briefly looks at poisoning and drug abuse covering chemicals such as kerosene, acids and alkali, organophosphate as well as overdose of drugs such as paracetamol, isoniazid, opiods etc. psychiatric conditions are adequately covered in chapter 35, while common syndromes such as pyrexia of unknown origin, malaise, oedema, wasting etc are addressed in chapter 36. Emergency resuscitation is well illustrated in chapter 37. The book has a rich index and a bibliography for further reading.

The strength of the book is in the simplicity of the language used probably because it is intended for paramedical students and paramedical workers. It also has clear guides as to when to refer to a medical officer for all conditions covered. There are several pictures to illustrate points being made which would be quite useful for the reader.

The weakness of the book is in the paucity of the use of technical terms which I guess is because of the audience primarily intended to use the book (paramedics); there is the need to use more technical terms for it to be quite useful for the medical student who as part of the training is expected to use technical terms. In spite of this short coming, this book would be a useful adjunct for the medical student, medical officer as well as other health workers. Certainly it would be of use for nursing students, students of colleges of health technology and health workers in the tropics especially in areas where there are no medical officers.