A Glimpse of Eternal Snows
How to Shit Around the World
The Essential Guide to Travel Health
Lemurs of the Lost World
Your Child Abroad: a travel health guide
People fascinate me. Perhaps that is why I love working as a GP. When I travel, I always want to ask questions and know what life is really like for everyone I meet. Sadly, I am not much of a linguist but I smile and gesticulate a great deal and make the effort to communicate. Given enough time, it is remarkable how connections can be made
I explore, try to understand and write about difficult issues including corruption, prejudice, exploitation, caste and poverty. I know that for some this makes uncomfortable reading and even risks demystifying and undermining the image some travellers have of the simple natural existence of the rural poor in emerging nations. Nevertheless I fervently believe these issues should be understood by all who travel so my aim is to present the facts as sympathetic engaging stories about real people. I am frustrated by the look-and-point approach to travel, but I hope I don't preach. I write of my adventures and enthusiasms and of colour and beauty so that my readers can enjoy my travel experiences as much as I do.
Within minutes of arriving in the sleepy town of Khairpur in Sindh, I was faced with a medical crisis. I'd been qualified as a doctor for a few years but was new to expatriate life, and I was travelling with my firstborn, three-month-old son. A guy who was expecting to work with my husband announced that he needed to be evacuated because he was desperately ill. I introduced myself as a GP and offered help. Quickly I realised that my new friend was not suffering from some horrendous tropical pox but that he just had a nasty attack of sinusitis. It made him feel awful with frontal headache that recalled having a screwdriver rammed into his eyeball. Labelling it with a diagnosis made it less scary, though, and we found that the correct antibiotics were readily available over the counter in the local bazaar. By the next day my patient was well on the way to recovery.
That was the first time I really had to think about travel health. What this, my first real travel medicine ‘case’, made me realise is that even the calmest and most sensible of travellers will nearly always become disproportionately worried about themselves when taken ill. In my friend’s case, he didn’t know much about the local health service and didn’t know where he could find a doctor he could trust. He just wanted to get home to his friendly British GP. That experience showed me how liberating and empowering information can be and motivated me to start writing accessible straightforward travel health advice. I began work on a manual that was distributed amongst expatriate engineers, and soon after wrote my first travel health feature for Wanderlust magazine. It was - of course - on diarrhoea.
Looking for a book on squat toilets, getting the runs, and getting the runs while using a rough squat toilet? Not the best mealtime read, but good preparation for what the road throws at you. There's a wealth of info on eating right, drinking right, the risks of seafood, and keeping the little ones healthy. The differentiating factor for this book though is it doesn't stop there. Where else can you get a whole chapter on toilet paper and the lack thereof, bathing in a stream, or what to do when it's that time of the month and you're on a mountain ascent?
Throughout the book there are short snippets from doctors, from aid workers, and from others with life experience combating nasty bugs and diseases. If you're a parent wanting to make sure your about-to-leave child knows how to keep healthy, or you're the type who likes to be ready for anything, this is a valuable book. Anyone about to go off on a long-term volunteer assignment in a rural environment should make room for it in the pack.
I'm immersed in writing about mothering young children with disabilities (specifically vision impairment, but most of them have/had other conditions), and by night in bed I'm reading your book, which is fantastic, and gives me a whole extra level of insight, especially the first part about the health services. The different themes in the book come together brilliantly, David, Nepal, the health issues, the family, Simon's work, the wildlife, etc, and make it a really good read.
“Trekking families will find Your Child’s Health Abroad invaluable.”