1. Tiedje, Linda Beth PhD, RN, FAAN

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Sachs, J. D. (2006).New York: Penguin Books.


The end of poverty in the world is achievable and integrally related to health and healing. Jeffrey Sachs is an economist, and his book is based on the optimistic premise that escaping poverty is based on good harbors, close contact with the developed world, adequate energy, and freedom from epidemic disease, not the pessimistic premise that the world's poor are poor because of laziness and corrupt governments. Given the optimistic philosophy, in 2004 he spent time in eight Kenyan villages in the Sauri subregion to work with villagers to identify ways to help them achieve the worldwide Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing poverty, hunger, disease, and lack of access to safe water and sanitation (for more information about the MDGs, visit The end result was that by 2006, 12 "research villages" had been set up in 10 African countries to pioneer development efforts that could be replicated by other villages in the future. Already another 66 villages have been added around the original 12, with the goal of 1,000 such villages by 2009.


The Millenium Project is funding the research villages at the rate of $250 per person over 5 years, attempting to show how seven basic reforms can improve life and health in Africa by improving the infrastructure at the grass roots level and improving people's ability to help themselves. The seven basic reforms involve agriculture, investments in basic health and education, power and communication services, and safe drinking water and sanitation. Specifically they involve (a) fertilizer and seed to improve food yield (only two of 200 or so farmers at one meeting reported using fertilizer), (b) antimalarial bed nets, (c) improved water sources, (d) diversification of crops grown, (e) a school feeding program, (f) deworming for all (to deworm a Sauri child costs about the same as a cup of coffee, and 50% of children there are infected), and (g) provision of energy saving (non-wood-burning) stoves and mobile phones.


This book is a "must read" for all nurses interested in international health. More than 10 million children under 5 years of age die every year of preventable diseases and malnutrition-nearly half of them in the first weeks of life. Sachs has given us more to do than wait for famine and/or wring our hands. "The End of Poverty" is an economic blueprint of possibility, for small investments to help people in the developing world to help themselves. Many of the book's chapters challenge us to promote sustainable development and health in the developing world and remind us that these investments are in our own best interest. I encourage each of you to read it!!


Linda Beth Tiedje