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close this bookWhere There Is No Doctor - A Village Health Care Handbook (Hesperian Foundation, 1993, 516 p.)
close this folderChapter 23 - THE MEDICINE KIT
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentHow to Care for Your Medicine Kit
View the documentBuying Supplies for the Medicine Kit
View the documentThe Home Medicine Kit
View the documentThe Village Medicine Kit
View the documentWords to the Village Storekeeper (or Pharmacist)

Words to the Village Storekeeper (or Pharmacist)


Dear friend,

If you sell medicines in your store, people probably ask you about which medicines to buy and when or how to use them. You are in a position to have an important effect on people's knowledge and health.

This book can help you to give correct advice and to see that your customers buy only those medicines they really need.

As you know, people too often spend the little money they have for medicines that do not help them. But you can help them understand their health needs more clearly and spend their money more wisely. For example:

· If people come asking for cough syrups, for a diarrhea-thickener like Kaopectate, for vitamin B12 or liver extract to treat simple anemia, for penicillin to treat a sprain or ache, or for tetracycline when they have a cold, explain to them that these medicines are not needed and may do more harm than good. Discuss with them what to do instead.

· If someone wants to buy a vitamin tonic, encourage him to buy eggs, fruit, or vegetables instead. Help him understand that these have more vitamins and nutritional value for the money.

· If people ask for an injection when medicine by mouth would work as well and be safer-which is usually the case-tell them so.

· If someone wants to buy 'cold tablets' or some other form of 'expensive aspirin' for a cold, encourage him to save money by buying plain aspirin (or acetaminophen) tablets and taking them with lots of liquids.

You may find it easier to tell people these things if you look up the information in this book, and read it together with them.

Above all, sell only useful medicines. Stock your store with the medicines and supplies listed for the Home and Village Medicine Kits, as well as other medicines and supplies that are important for common illnesses in your area. Try to stock low-cost generic products or the least expensive brands. And never sell medicines that are expired, damaged, or useless.

Your store can become a place where people learn about caring for their own health. If you can help people use medicines intelligently, making sure that anyone who purchases a medicine is well informed as to its correct use and dosage, as well as the risks and precautions, you will provide an outstanding service to your community.

Good luck!